We want to hear about your experiences of accessing NHS dental care and how this is affecting your oral health.
This research is in response to ongoing concerns raised by local people about the scarcity of NHS dentists, leading to difficulties obtaining both routine and urgent dental care. People are also telling us that a lack of NHS dental care is affecting their physical and mental health, and they are highlighting the high cost and financial strain associated with private dental care.
Demand for NHS dental care in Somerset is currently greater than the services available. Research has shown that the closure of dental practices locally and changes to NHS dental services have contributed to the shortage of NHS dentists in the county.
Gill Keniston-Goble, Healthwatch Somerset Manager, commented: “The consequences of this lack of NHS dental care on the oral health of our communities are likely to be significant, potentially leading to a notable decline in the overall oral health of our residents. Coupled with the rising cost of living, concerns over the accessibility and affordability of dental care have become even more pronounced, contributing to discussions about health inequality, locally and nationally. We want to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current situation in Somerset, so we are investigating local people’s experiences and perspectives of NHS dental care. We will share our findings with those responsible for dental care and oral health in Somerset.”
Share your feedback
It’s easy to share your anonymous feedback with us to help improve access to NHS dentistry in Somerset. Visit the project page to complete our survey online, or call 0800 999 1286 (Freephone) to request a paper copy of the survey or to share your views over the phone. [The survey is now closed]
Making a difference locally, regionally and nationally
In April 2023, NHS Somerset took over responsibility for commissioning NHS dentistry. The insights gathered through this research will be shared with NHS Somerset to help them understand the current challenges surrounding access to dentistry and its impact on the oral health of Somerset’s communities.
At a regional level, we regularly highlight concerns about the local situation by updating the NHS Local Dental Network (LDN) for the South West about public enquiries received around dentistry. Read the quarterly reports for the LDN
We also share public feedback about dentistry in Somerset with Healthwatch England, to inform their national research and campaign urging NHS England to improve access and affordability in NHS dental care. Find out more