West Cumbria Dental Project

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Cumbria produced a survey for people living in Cleator Moor who are not registered with an NHS dentist, to help paint a clearer picture of the current situation as well as allowing the respondents an opportunity to share their personal experiences and stories.

  • Majority of the respondents said that they do not have an NHS dentist, and many were last treated by one more than two years ago.
  • A very common issue that was highlighted by 42% of respondents was inability to get into an NHS dentist. Respondents stated that they had tried to get into multiple NHS dentists and were continuously told that these dentists have no space and thus are not taking on any new patients.
  • People living in Cleator Moor had slightly better access to NHS dentists compared with the wider surrounding area.
  • Majority of the respondents travelled between 0 and 10 miles for dental treatment. However, about a quarter travelled over 21 miles.
  • Financial limitations were highlighted to be a big issue for those trying to access dental care. The feedback suggested that a lot of individuals were not able to afford private dental treatment, whilst others were forced to go private despite the additional costs. Some of those individuals that were not able to pay for private dental treatments had been relying on emergency NHS instead.
  • There was a lot of concern around children accessing dental care, especially with multiple reports of children having never been seen by a dentist.

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General details

Report title 
West Cumbria Dental Project
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Cumbria
Date of publication 
Monday, 20 December, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 27 May, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 29 June, 2021
Key themes 
Cost of services
Health inequalities
Service closure
Staff levels

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Primary research method used 
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 of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Black/ African / Caribbean / Black British
Mixed / multiple ethnic groups
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 
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? 
Not applicable
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.