Hertfordshire Dentists - are their NHS entries or websites providing up to date information for NHS patients?Download (PDF 479KB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Hertfordshire undertook research on access to NHS dentistry to see if dentists had taken action in line with NHS England’s requirements to improve information to the public. They assessed information on 157 dental surgery websites about access to NHS appointments, phoned a sample of surgeries which said they were accepting NHS dental patients and surveyed the public.
Their audit of websites found that:
- Nearly three in five dental practices had no information about whether they were accepting NHS patients
- Opening times were generally not updated
- No accessibility information could be found on 32% of websites
- Over two in five had no car parking information
- Around three in five dental websites had no current patient reviews. Of those that did, the majority were positive.
- The information websites contained about NHS dental care was often very high level and didn’t give any indication as to whether new patients would be accepted
- Over a quarter had no information about Covid-19
The telephone mystery shop of dental practices found that only three of the eleven practices that said they were accepting new NHS patients were doing so immediately and two said they were not taking on any.
All the survey participants that had received dental care since June 2020 were happy with the experience. Nine participants were unable to obtain NHS treatment since the reopening of services in June 2020 due to a lack of availability of NHS appointments.
The report contains three recommendations aimed at improving information for patients about access to NHS dentistry.