Written evidence submitted by Healthwatch Hull (DTY0051)
Local Facts & Figures
- Reported that the wider region of the East Riding of Yorkshire is one of the hardest hit by staffing issues, with over 2,000 dentists quitting last year, 37 dentists per 100,000 in what the association of Dental Groups is calling a "dental desert".
- Owner of a local dental practice in Hull believes that the problems started in 2006. He said: “Blaming Covid is an easy, but incorrect pointing of the finger. That year, a new dental contract was introduced, and then deemed "not fit for purpose" by the Health Committee. In the following 14 years, nothing has changed. The contract has been linked to the loss of 3,000 dentists, with payment being the same regardless if a patient has one or ten fillings.”
- In the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care’s "Plan for Patients" statement on Thursday 22nd September, there was no mention of dentistry at all.
- An NHS checkup can cost from £23.80 to £282.80 depending on whether it's a regular checkup or a more complex crown. In comparison, at Bupa Dental Care on Holderness Road, Hull a simple check-up is £67 and a crown is £519.
Feedback – Quarter 3 2022
Healthwatch Hull action
For all dental issues, we referred the individuals to the NHS England customer contact centre telephone and email system. We also informed the individuals that if they experience any pain, swelling or serious dental issues then they should contact NHS 111 who will refer them onto emergency treatment.
We refer people to the community dental service if they meet the criteria for referral. Unfortunatley, referrals are not always accepted, and when they are there is a long waiting list to be seen and treated.
We continue to play an active role in the local dental netwrok meetings, ensuring that patient voice is consistently heard and on the agenda.
We promote good oral health, and participate in sharing where a dentist is taking on new patients.
- Poor access to NHS dentists in the Yorkshire & Humber area
- Long unrealistic waiting lists for patients from 2 -4 years
- Waiting lists are uncoordinated with some people on more than one list and others unable to have their name added to any list.
- Access to community dental services is limited, and referral criteria seems to be inconsistent.
- Emergency treatment is often out of the immediate area so incurs travel and cost implications – sometimes impossible for the most vulnerable to access.
- Those entitled to free dental care eg children and pregnant women and those in receipt of benefits are unable to access an NHS dentist, widening health inequalities.