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.