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Healthwatch Dorset

Project case study (2021-2022)

Access to Primary Care – Dentistry in Dorset

Dentist patient

Access to NHS dentistry was considered a priority concern for people living in Dorset. Between April 2021 – March 2022, Healthwatch Dorset contacted 99 NHS dental practices in the county and prepared a report detailing the findings.

COVID-19 has brought challenges to the delivery of health and care services and we have been tracking how this is affecting people in Dorset.  A lack of access to NHS dentistry has become a major area of public concern in Dorset and across the whole country.  We have seen a spike in enquiries from people struggling to get urgent and routine dental care, and from parents seeking dental care for their children.

We wanted to understand more about why people are unable to get the care they need in Dorset, so we contacted all 99 NHS dental practices in the county to investigate the situation.  Our findings show why the public are finding it difficult to get the care they need and why the Healthwatch network is calling for a national reform of dental care.

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“Dental services are a vital part of the NHS providing oral health care to all age groups, and that’s why we have taken this unprecedented action to boost NHS dental services.”

Sara Hurley

Chief Dental Officer for England

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