Summary of report content
Within Stoke-on-Trent there are more than fifty public dental services that provide appointments, treatments and consultations to a significant percentage of residents in the city of Stoke-on-Trent. However, following the coronavirus outbreak dental services were asked to substantially reduce the number of routine face to face dental care check-ups. Soon after, dental services were asked to cease all routine appointments and treatments to reduce the spread of coronavirus until advised otherwise. Consequently, patient access was largely limited to urgent treatment at local Urgent Dental Care Hubs for a number of weeks. Dental staff not only stepped forward to run these centres but also to support the NHS front line in other areas, for which participation should be widely acknowledged. Most Midlands practices continued to provide virtual or telephone consultations and prescriptions during the closure. Patients with an urgent dental problem and without a regular dentist were able to obtain advice and, where necessary, an emergency appointment by contacting the Dental Advice Line.
A qualitative research design was formed to collect public feedback items. From 28 July 2020 to 14 August 2020 social media platforms and our website was utilised for a callout to residents of Stoke-on-Trent, for dental services experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Targeted questions were distributed across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and website news articles to expand virtual reach. Each virtual callout post addressed the followed questions: (1) Are you registered with a dentist or have you tried to register during the coronavirus pandemic? (2) Have you visited a dentist during the coronavirus pandemic or rang for any support or guidance? (3) How long did you wait for treatment or are you still waiting for treatment?