An investigation into dental services in Hackney during the COVID pandemicDownload (PDF 383KB)
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.