Access to emergency dentistry care and registration options during COVID-19Download (PDF 321KB)
Summary of report contentIn November 2020, Healthwatch Newham conducted dentist mystery shopping to determine levels of access to emergency care and registration options during COVID-19. In February 2019, Healthwatch Newham conducted research to evaluate all 29 dental practices across Newham after receiving feedback from residents who were finding it difficult to secure an appointment. From the research, it was highlighted that whilst 86% of practices were taking new patients, 45% of dental practices contracted to provide NHS routine appointment had a waiting time of 4 weeks to 3 months. After the first COVID-19 lockdown Healthwatch Newham started to receive feedback from patients who had experienced some difficulty booking emergency NHS dental appointments, some dental practices refusing to see patients, or register new NHS patients.
Healthwatch Newham conducted mystery shopping on their dental practices and found that although dental practices were supposed to be seeing patients and offering some appointments, most practices they contacted were unable to offer an emergency appointment to patients. They found that 93% of dental practices in Newham have limited NHS emergency appointment capacity and are not seeing new walk-in patients, of which only 16% offered a private emergency appointment due to pressures on their services. Access to the Urgent Dental Care (UDC) also appears to be limited and difficult for some patients who require emergency appointments. 17% of dentist were offering private emergency appointments only. 93% of dental practices said they could not register NHS patients either because of COVID-19 backlog or lack of capacity and resources. For alternative emergency appointment, 74% of practices suggested patients should contact NHS 111.
Healthwatch Newham recommended that there is an urgent need in Newham to review the allocation of NHS emergency appointment, access to Urgent Dental Care hub services and improving capacity to allow for new patients to register.
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Access to emergency dentistry care and registration options during COVID-19
Date of publication
Monday, 11 January, 2021
Date evidence capture began
Sunday, 1 November, 2020
Date evidence capture finished
Monday, 30 November, 2020
Type of report
Communication between staff and patients
Quality of care
Healthwatch reference number
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?
Primary care services
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?
Does the information include other people's views?
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views?