Summary of report content
The ten Healthwatch in Greater Manchester decided to undertake their own research into access to NHS dentistry. Upon Healthwatch England publishing its own report, they decided to publish their data as a supplemental report to support the findings and recommendations of the Healthwatch England report.
Across Greater Manchester local Healthwatch organisations recorded 102 enquiries regarding NHS dentistry in 2019/20. That figure increased to 650 in the period April 2020 to 19 March 2021 – a six-fold increase.
The qualitative data was analysed by theme; accessibility, treatment concerns, cost and health screening requirements. Whilst some enquiries raised concern regarding more than one theme, only 2.3% of overall enquiries in 2020/21 related to treatment, cost or health screening alone. Nearly all enquiries raised issues of accessibility.
All services have been impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic and therefore it is reasonable to make an assumption that both the increase in enquiries and the concerns regarding accessibility have some correlation with the way services have responded. The greatest proportion of enquiries were recorded in Q4 2020/21 during the longest and most recent lockdown in England – nearly two in five.