An investigation into dental services in Hackney during the COVID pandemic

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Hackney undertook projects to assess how all NHS-commissioned dental practices were operating in Hackney during the Covid-19 pandemic. They made phone calls to all practices in Hackney and also carried out mystery shopping to test the availability of any appointments with any dental practice.

  • They found that dental practices had made significant changes to contain the spread of the COVID-19 - this had a direct impact on the number of patients that could access their services.
  • Reduced number of appointments affected NHS patients more than the private patients and most practices were not taking any new NHS patients.
  • Almost all practices had to prioritise patients with urgent needs, resulting in a backlog of patients waiting for regular appointments.
  • Although most practices had adequate access to PPE, one was concerned about not being able to always access the right kind of equipment of an appropriate quality.
  • Some practices were able to offer pain relief and antibiotics but not treatment to non-registered patients after telephone triage.

Healthwatch Hackney recommend that the responsibility for information regarding access to dental care needs to be provided locally in the short term, and accountability for this established; the operation of the 111 services in relation to dentistry needs to be monitored in view of the poor quality information that was provided in during the first wave of Covid 19; and the Local Dental Committee should establish a means for patients to easily locate the nearest dentist for urgent and non-urgent care in Hackney.


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General details

Report title 
An investigation into dental services in Hackney during the COVID pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Hackney
Date of publication 
Friday, 12 March, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 1 September, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Saturday, 31 October, 2020
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Health and safety
Information providing

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
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 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
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
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? 
Not applicable
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.