Dental services report

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Summary of report content

One of the key issues that people in North Somerset discuss with Healthwatch North Somerset is difficulties experienced accessing NHS dental services, in particular in areas outside of Weston-super-Mare. It was also highlighted that there are particular difficulties in accessing treatment for people who have disabilities and are unable to leave their homes. As a result of intelligence received from the public, Healthwatch North Somerset decided to investigate and evaluate access to NHS dental service provision in North Somerset. It was decided that the best and most accurate way to understand the difficulties faced by members of the public when seeking access to NHS dental services was to act as a Secret Shopper. This method would allow us to simulate the experience of a patient, and enable a viable evaluation. In May 2015 Healthwatch North Somerset conducted a Secret Shopper exercise. During this time, they phoned each dental practice in North Somerset and phoned the 111 service, as they provide information on local NHS dentists and emergency appointments. Their investigation shows that the main areas of concern are the NHS Choices website which contains out of date and misleading information and the 111 service which provided incorrect information. Patients should expect current and up to date information when using NHS Choices and not have to work their way through a list of dentists in North Somerset in the hope one might take on new NHS patients. Healthwatch North Somerset recommends NHS England and North Somerset dental practices develop a protocol to work together to ensure the dentist information on NHS Choices website is maintained, up to date and accurate. The 111 service have access to accurate and up to date dental service information in North Somerset to enable them to fulfil their signposting role. NHS England investigate ways to inform people with a disability or medical condition who are housebound, about how to access a NHS dentist if required.

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General details

Report title 
Dental services report
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch North Somerset
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 1 July, 2015
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 July, 2015
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 1 July, 2015
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Waiting times and lists for treatment
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)

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Not known
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 
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? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

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.