Patient experience of dentists in Newham

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Newham conducted two pieces of research in 2017 which found that 65% of dental practices could not provide a routine appointment within 2 weeks. Further research in February 2019 showed that 45% of practices were not able to provide emergency appointments, or referrals to alternative care, with waiting times for appointments up to 3 months in half of the practices. This work led Healthwatch Newham to review access and service quality at NHS dentists once an appointment is obtained. People's views and experiences were gathered via a questionnaire, a focus group and observations during visits to local NHS dental practices.

Key findings

Experiences of patient care:

  • 84% of patients felt involved in the decision making about their dental care.
  • 80% understood their treatment and 75% felt listened to during appointments.
  • 100% of patients reported being satisfied with their dental practice.

Emergency appointments:

  • All emergency appointments were booked by long-term patients only.
  • Practices declined emergency appointments for walk-in patients due to capacity.

Routine appointments

  • 54% of patients waited for around 1 to 2 weeks for an appointment.
  • 8% of patients reported 2 to 4 weeks waiting time and a further 16% up to one month.
  • Most patients were satisfied with the waiting times for routine appointments.


  • Patients reported enjoying establishing a long-term relationship with their dentist.
  • Newham dentists were doing a good job, ensuring patients felt in charge of their care.
  • Although routine and emergency appointments were more easily available, compared to past reviews, this was not the case for emergency appointments for walk-in patients.
  • Older people did not perceive visiting a dentist as a priority and only did so in emergencies. They were also unclear about the implications of treatment.


Based on these findings, Healthwatch Newham made the following recommendations:

  1. Review the allocation of NHS appointments in Newham to ensure appointments, including emergency, are available for resident and walk-in patients.
  2. Reception staff to explain how the different NHS price bands change depending on the treatment to ensure patients understand what they are paying for.
  3. Encouraged older people to visit the dentist more often by offering support with making an appointment, ensuring practices are accessible and providing targeted information.

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General details

Report title 
Patient experience of dentists in Newham
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Newham
Date of publication 
Sunday, 1 December, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 August, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 30 September, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
How was the information collected? 
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 about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Specific ethnicity if known 
Sexual orientation 
Not known
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 
Does the information include other people's views? 
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? 
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.