Extra money for local NHS dentists
NHS England has put extra money into Dental Access Centres in Peterborough and Wisbech after our report into dentist availability earlier this year.
The report – Finding an NHS dentist in Peterborough and Fenland – was published in January.
It found a shortage of routine and urgent dental appointments in NHS dental practices in the two areas.
As a result, people had to turn to the Dental Access Centres for help. But a substantial - and rising - number were turned away from the centres without treatment.
The report also highlighted that there are not enough NHS dentists or dental nurses in the region due to recruitment problems and that poor transport links make it difficult to access dental health care in Fenland.
Children’s oral health education was also lacking and the number of youngsters having multiple tooth extractions was rising.
At the Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough board meeting in Haddenham yesterday (Wed), directors had an update into the impact of the report and its recommendations.
Healthwatch communities programme manager Caroline Tyrrell-Jones said some encouraging responses had been received from health bodies including NHS England, NHS Improvement and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Public Health teams as well as Public Health England.
- The Healthwatch report has been discussed by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees
- NHS England is reviewing dental access in areas where there are known problems and says it will consider looking at the impact of deprivation on primary dental care in the East of England.
- An oral health project targeting children and families has begun in Peterborough, with health visitors handing out toothbrushing packs at children’s 12-month-checks.
- Extra money has been given to the Dental Access Centres over the last six months and although this ends in October, more funding may be on offer.
However, the areas' deprivation and inequalities, poor transport and difficulties hiring new dental staff were deep-seated problems that could not be fixed overnight.
In the meantime Healthwatch will continue to monitor some of the actions planned and collect people’s experiences and report these back to commissioners.
Find out more
Read our original story and report here - Thousands denied dental care in Cambridgeshire
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