What people have told us about NHS dentistry

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Summary of report content

Access to NHS dentistry has been one of the most significant issues raised with us by the public over the last 18 months. Not only have we seen a large increase in the volume of feedback and a significant increase in the amount of negative sentiment in our evidence, but more strikingly, we have noted a continuation of this new trend over time. These issues are not occurring in isolated pockets, people are raising them right across the country. This is what makes NHS dentistry such an important topic for us – it is clear that our communities from all over England want us to keep pushing this issue until we see some tangible changes.

This briefing provides an update on what we have been hearing in the first half of 2021/22 and assesses what progress has been made in fixing NHS dentistry for people in England.

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General details

Report title 
What people have told us about NHS dentistry
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch England
Date of publication 
Friday, 10 December, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 30 September, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Health inequalities
Health protection
Information providing
Quality of care
Service closure
Waiting times and lists for treatment

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 
User stories
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)
Secondary care services 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
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.