An insight into accessing NHS dentistry in Camden during COVID-19

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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

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General details

Report title 
An insight into accessing NHS dentistry in Camden during COVID-19
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Camden
Date of publication 
Friday, 25 June, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 12 May, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 28 May, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Dentist (non-hospital)
Secondary care services 

Details of people who shared their views

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 
Service manager

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Not applicable
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

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.