Covid-19 Lockdown: Information and Access to Dental Care

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch East Sussex undertook research about information to the public about dental treatments, after finding in their main survey about the impact of Covid-19 that this was a problem for many people.

They looked at information available to the public about dental care provision during the lockdown period in mid-May by reviewing the websites and out-of-hours voice messages of both high street practices, and emergency dental services. In early July, they repeated the exercise to compare service information provided to the public following the resumption of high street dental care provision from 8 June 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the delivery of both routine and emergency dental services, which in turn has placed greater importance on the communication of accurate and up-to-date information made available to patients. The findings of this review indicate significant inconsistencies in the quality, accuracy and accessibility of information provided to the public. Whilst most dental practices updated their website and phone information in response to Covid-19; the variations in that content, together with the out dated information provided by many other practices, could present significant barriers to patients attempting to access the care they require. Ideally, all dental practices would provide patients with accurate, accessible, and up to date information in a consistent format regarding the services available, including signposting to urgent and emergency care.

There were three recommendations for dental practices to improve the information on their websites and phone messages about access to dental services during the pandemic.  

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General details

Report title 
Covid-19 Lockdown: Information and Access to Dental Care
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch East Sussex
Date of publication 
Friday, 11 September, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 May, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 July, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Information providing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider
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)

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? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Not known

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? 
Not known

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.