Summary of report content
Healthwatch Camden called all 33 dental practices with NHS contracts in Camden, speaking to a variety of dental practice staff members including reception staff, practice managers, and dentists. Staff were asked a series of questions about their availability. All calls were made between 12th and 28th of May during office hours.
- Most ‘existing’ NHS patients can schedule appointments. Most practices distinguish between ‘new’ and ‘existing’ patients, with existing ones having greater access to appointments. 4 in 5 dental practice can offer at least some provision to NHS patients they consider existing.
- Nearly all were unable to accept new NHS patients. Only one practice was currently taking new NHS patients. The most common reasons were full: capacity, long waiting lists, and a backlog from the pandemic.
- New patients can expect a 3 month wait to see an NHS dentist. 20 practices were anticipating taking new NHS patients, with 3 months the average wait time. 9 practices were unable to specify any waiting time.
- Some exceptions are made for emergency care. A third of dentists were taking on new NHS patients for emergencies, though just under half were not taking any NHS patients even in an emergency.
- One in three practices were unable to offer any appointments to children on the NHS
- There was ample availability of private appointments. 21 practices had availability for private appointments.
Patients without an appointment are told to call 111, pay or wait.
Healthwatch Camden will be working with Camden & Islington Public Health to determine whether a needs assessment of dentistry within the borough is needed