Experiences of dental care services: March 2020 to January 2022

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Darlington wanted to understand the experiences of their community with dental care services during the period from the first lockdown due to COVID-19, in March 2020, to date. 48 people responded to a survey and they spoke to dental practices locally to understand the availability of services.

Ten people were looking for a dentist and found it difficult to find one.  People had to wait between 3 weeks and a year for a routine check up. Fifteen percent found it difficult or very difficult to book an emergency appointment.

Nine out of ten dental practices said they were taking on new NHS patients, however some reported waiting lists, one as long as 500 people. All said that NHS waiting times for routine dental treatment was no longer than six months, which was in line with their waiting times for Private patients.

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General details

Report title 
Experiences of dental care services: March 2020 to January 2022
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Darlington
Date of publication 
Thursday, 10 March, 2022
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 November, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 7 January, 2022
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
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 
18-24 years
25-64 years
65-85 years
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
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? 
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.