Summary of report content
Healthwatch York conducted a survey to find out local people’s experience of dental treatment in York. The report found that the main reason why people didn’t have an NHS dentist was because they couldn’t find one taking NHS patients; most people looking for an NHS dentist had been trying for over two years; the most common way of successfully finding a dentist was by ringing around different practices in the area until they found one accepting NHS patients; the majority however, were satisfied with the quality of treatment and had a positive experience overall when treated by an NHS dentist. The report also found patients experiencing pain and discomfort because of not having a dentist; cost of dental treatments and travelling long distances to get to an NHS dentist were the main reasons why they did not seek treatment; the NHS Choices website was not up to date making it more difficult to find a suitable dentist.
The report recommended to NHS England North Yorkshire and Humber to urgently review availability of NHS dentistry in York and consider options to increase the availability to keep pace with York’s continuing growth; consider options for improving access to dentistry and advice about caring for teeth; re-introduce a waiting list system to guarantee fair and timely access; monitor the waiting list to make sure levels of dental activity in York are sufficient; increase awareness of and promote access to community dentists.
City of York Council and NHS England responded by outlining how they were taking steps to address the different recommendations.