Public experience of dental services during the coronavirus pandemic

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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?

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General details

Report title 
Public experience of dental services during the coronavirus pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent
Date of publication 
Friday, 21 August, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Health promotion
Holistic support
Information providing

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Dentist (non-hospital)

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Specific ethnicity if 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? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 

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.