Written evidence submitted by Healthwatch Staffordshire (DTY0031)
We have received feedback from over 70 residents of Staffordshire in the last 8 months who have been struggling to get dental care even with urgent problems. We have worked with our community dental colleagues to signpost people to emergency appointments.
The government needs to look at preventive dental treatment to avoid long term dental ill health. We have had parents of toddlers who want to introduce their child to the dentist at an early age who cannot get them in to see a dentist anywhere they can travel to.
Care home residents are struggling to get any service at all.
The contract needs to change to reduce the bureaucracy involved. Could a flat rate fee for an annual dental check and hygienist appointment be considered. Private plans provide for 2 such appointment a year for around £15per month. The fee structure for individual treatment needs to be simplified and realistically priced.
The list of practices that are taking on NHS patients needs to be current and not months or even years out of date.
There needs to be some incentive for Dentist to enter the NHS system as hearsay is that the last local tranche of dental graduates all went into private practice and were principally interested in cosmetic dentistry. Possible suggestion could be a bursary towards training in return to a minimum time working with NHS patients.