Written evidence submitted by Healthwatch North East Lincolnshire (DTY0052)
Almost 30% of calls received each quarter in the year 22-23 relate to dentistry and the lack of access.
The majority of these relate to patients whose Dental Practices closed during Covid-19 Pandemic and further provision was not made within North East Lincolnshire.
Key trends –
Case study 1: Untreated problem
A lady contacted Healthwatch North East Lincolnshire after she had been looking for a Dental Practice for 2 years for herself and her 3 sons. The lady said “My 2 younger sons have really bad cavities and I am also in need of a filling as I can't eat on the left side of my mouth sometimes and the emergency dentist doesn't deal with fillings. My 8 year old son also can't eat on the left hand side of his mouth as his molar tooth has a big brown hole in it. I really need help finding an NHS dentist for treatment and routine check-ups”
Case study 2: Untreated problem and Emergency Dental Services
A lady said that she has been trying to see an NHS Dentist, however is unable to find one that is taking on patients. The family are on a waiting list but have been told it might take a year for them to be seen. The lady explained,
“I have called 111 this morning to make an emergency dental appointment for my 13 yr old and after over an hour and a half on hold the only appointment I was offered was a telephone appointment which seems like quite a pointless appointment considering I can see a hole in her tooth which I would be amazed to learn they could fix over the phone. Is there not a duty of care to ensure all residents of the UK have access to medical care when needed? It seems harsh to keep a 13 yr old child in pain and I know she won't be the only one left suffering while whilst dental spaces are so few on the ground”
.Case study 3: Emergency Dental Treatment
Gentleman contacted Healthwatch North East Lincolnshire in need of help. He said
“I desperately need proper dental care, I had to have a tooth extracted and told the emergency dentist about a hole and broken tooth I have but they wouldn't treat it as it wasn't bad enough. The hole is now the size of my tooth and causes me regular pain and discomfort eating. I can't get into a dentist anywhere and I desperately need help. I'm 21 and have mental health issues so looking after myself is really hard, I'm on benefits because of this so can't afford private help. Surely there must be something out there where I can get help, I have shootings pains to the top of my head it's so painful. Pain relief won't even touch it, I'm putting ibuprofen gel on my face to ease the agony and it still kills”
Healthwatch East Riding of Yorkshire Action
For all dentist related enquiries, we referred the individuals to the NHS England customer contact centre telephone and email system as NHS England commission dental services throughout the UK and are responsible for the provision of such. 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.
What we want to change