Access to dental services for disabled people in Bury

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Summary of report content

The concerns around access to dental centres were first brought to the attention of Healthwatch Bury by Bury Coalition for Independent Living service users. The concerns were around the access to dental practices and the attitude of some dentists towards disabled people. When Healthwatch Bury asked people to share their experiences about dentistry in Bury, through social media, more comments were made that gave us a reason to look into this issue further. Healthwatch’s role is to gather people’s experiences and make them known to the service providers and commissioners of the services. Therefore, it is our duty to collate further evidence and notify relevant people when the organisation becomes aware of a potential concern. Healthwatch Bury used a variety of methods to collect information from the community regarding access to dental services for disabled people living in Bury. 22 people returned the survey by post and email. The majority of dental practices who replied to the survey, stated that they are currently able to accept disabled patients and all the respondents stated that they have wheelchair access to the surgery. More than half the respondents did not have disabled car parking spaces available for their patients. About two thirds of the surgeries stated they do not provide a signing service, Braille translation service, RNID Type Talk and do not provide patients with large print leaflets. Only one third of the surgeries stated that they have an induction loop available. Two thirds of the respondents stated that they have a fully accessible surgery for their patients. The majority of respondents to the patient survey had visited their dentist in the last six months and about two thirds of the respondents visit their dentist every 3 – 6 months. 68% of those who responded had some form of disability. Nearly half the patients only have to travel 1–3 miles to their dentist, the other half have to travel more than 3 miles to their dental surgery. The majority of the patients who completed the survey were very happy with the way they are treated by the receptionist and the dentist at their practice and feel the dentist puts them at ease during their examination. Two thirds of the respondents felt that staff members at their dental practice are aware of their disability and their individual needs. The recommendations include ensure that all the dental practices in Bury have an induction loop available for the patients in their surgeries. Provide patients with large print information leaflets in the dental surgeries, if relevant. Arrange disability awareness raising training for the customer facing staff in the dental practices. Provide car parking spaces for disabled patients. Ensure that a text message, email facility or letter reminder is available for the patients with a hearing impairment. Ensure that patients are notified well in advance regarding any changes to their dental service. Ensure that any reasonable adjustments are made to make surgeries more accessible for people with disabilities.

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General details

Report title 
Access to dental services for disabled people in Bury
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Bury
Date of publication 
Thursday, 22 January, 2015
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 22 January, 2015
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 22 January, 2015
Type of report 
Key themes 
Building and facilities
Health inequalities
Health promotion
Health protection
Information providing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Dentist (non-hospital)
Secondary care services 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.