Your experience is crucial in helping us understand what needs to change to improve healthcare for everyone. At Healthwatch, we make sure NHS leaders and other decision-makers, hear your voice and use your feedback to improve care.

In June last year, Healthwatch had a 450% increase in negative experiences about access to dentistry.

With your feedback, Healthwatch were able to help move dentistry up the agenda over the last year and outline how thousands of people have struggled to access or afford NHS dental care.

The findings helped encourage MPs across the country to raise the issue in Parliament.

This contributed to Minister Jo Churchill committing to draw up reform plans by April 2022. In the meantime, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care wrote to all dentists to update information about the care available on the NHS website.

Healthwatch is determined to keep this issue front and centre of decision makers’ minds. This is why we’ve made sure the issue has been raised repeatedly through an array of parliamentary interventions and media headlines.

Thanks to your help, Healthwatch will continue to fight for access to NHS dentistry for everyone.

Change takes time to happen. However, with your help, we will continue shining a light on the issues that matter to you.

Whether good or bad, it’s really is important that you share your experiences with us. Remember, your feedback is helping to improve people’s lives. So, if you’re ready to tell your story – we’re here to listen.


Published on 31 Aug, 2021 (updated 8 Sep, 2021)

5 comments on "What’s the point? Nothing ever changes"

  • Commenter said on 31st August 2021

    This is about GP services. Surgeries are still operating the total triage system. You can’t get a face to face appointment without a telephone consultation first. This should not now be the case as the government said that if you request a face to face meeting you should be given one. I am deeply concerned that this is adding unnecessary delays and frustration and anxiety for patients. Conditions that need fast treatment could be being misdiagnosed or completely missed. While some things can be dealt with over the phone, many must be seen.

    • Healthwatch Bucks replied on 8th September 2021

      We’re trying to get some clarification on the status of the total triage system. Some general practices were already operating a remote triage model before the pandemic. We do not expect that these practices will now abandon this model.

  • Commenter said on 31st August 2021

    A dental check up used to include a scrape & polish. Now they only count your teeth and want you to pay an additional £60 plus pound for a hygienist to do this. The hygienist also tries to tell me how to clean my teeth at 75 and still possessing my own teeth I think I have mastered this skill.

    • Healthwatch Bucks replied on 8th September 2021

      If you are treated under the NHS, a Band 1 treatment (i.e. a check-up) should include “a scale and polish if clinically needed”. This should cost £23.80. Read more about NHS dental charges.

  • Commenter said on 1st September 2021

    I have been a paraplegic for over 40yrs but have always been able to transfer into the dentists chair. However, during the first lockdown I broke my shoulder blade closely followed by a tooth. As I was then unable to transfer into my dentists chair (a situation that is unlikely to change now) my dentist referred me to the Community Dental Service. I rang the service a month after the referral to ask if they’d received it okay and when was I likely to be seen only to be told that the waiting list was already standing at a 2yr wait and that was only likely to get longer with lockdown!! I found this both shocking and frustrating. It seems to me that those most vulnerable and with physical limitations have very poor provision of services to maintain good oral health and once again we’re made to feel our needs are of no account.

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