NHS dentistry is in desperate need of reform. And, with living costs on the rise, concerns over accessibility, affordability and health inequalities have been highlighted as people in every part of the country struggle to access and pay for dental care.
We continue to work with Healthwatch England to move NHS dentistry up the political agenda, and we report regularly on the situation in Somerset and the South West to the NHS Local Dental Network (LDN).
Data from Healthwatch Somerset is included in the July 2023 report.
Number of responses: 42
Sentiment: All negative
Trend: A decrease in calls relating to dentistry this quarter by 40%
What difference will this make?
The LDN are using local data to make sure patient voice informs their decisions about development of NHS dental care in the region.
Decision makers have listened and acted on people’s feedback. Nationally NHS England announced changes to the NHS dental contract, including:
• Increasing the payments for dentists when treating patients with complex needs.
• Requiring dental practices to regularly update the national directory to show if they are taking new NHS patients.
• Moving resources from dental practices that are underperforming.
With these changes in place it should be easier for people to find an NHS dentist, alleviating the stress and worry so many suffer when they cannot afford to go private.