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New Guidance for GP Practices and a Rethink on NHS Dentistry

New Guidance for GP Practices and a Rethink on NHS Dentistry

NHS England has issued new guidance to GP practices across the country on facilitating more face-to-face appointments for patients who need it.

Healthwatch England, National Voices and the Patients Association have responded to the new guidance here .

The national association Healthwatch, which has a Sheffield branch, is also calling for a ‘radical rethink’ to give dental patients easily available and affordable treatment at all times.

Four out of five people have found it difficult to access dental care during the recent coronavirus lockdowns, including some in emergency situations.

A spokesperson for Sheffield Healthwatch said: “We’ve been reporting throughout the pandemic that people are finding it harder to access NHS dentistry. People are also struggling to know where to turn when they have an urgent dental need. These issues are not just local to Sheffield – and our national body Healthwatch England has explored the bigger picture of NHS dentistry in the country.

“Findings include the fact that some people were asked to wait up to three years for an NHS appointment, while those able to afford private care could get an appointment within a week. More widely, people are putting off dental care because they are worried about the costs involved, and this is having a big impact on their wellbeing.”

Reform of dentistry has been underway since 2009. Earlier this year, it was announced that NHS England would be taking over the process from the Department of Health and Social Care, but reform plans have yet to be announced.

Now Healthwatch is calling for greater ambition and urgency from NHS dental reform plans to create more equitable and affordable dental care.

The report in full can be seen here


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