n October 2015 Healthwatch Lancashire published a report “Your Dentist Your Say”. The full report can be downloaded from the Health Watch website: http://healthwatchlancashire.co.uk/publications/
1,059 responses were considered from people living across Lancashire; these included 150 from the Lancaster district.
The Report found:
37% weren’t registered with an NHS dentist. 18% had no dentist at all.
Of those without any dentist the reason most frequently given was that they were unable to register or were on a waiting list.
50% of those not registered or were registered with a private dentist wanted to be registered with a NHS dentist.
Those with a private dentist or not registered at all were asked if they’d tried to get NHS treatment in the last 12 months but were unsuccessful. Over 20% said they’d tried to get NHS treatment without success.
Took 12 months to get a NHS dentist, in the meantime I had to go to a private practice.
No outcome and I am still waiting for a NHS dentist.
Dentist allocated was 15 miles away, much too far for me to travel.
Long waiting list and ones available I had to travel long distance.
Told there was a long waiting list
Heysham Councillor Colin Hartley writes:
"The report confirms what we all know from our own experiences and talking to family, friends and colleagues – finding an NHS dentist is difficult.
Worryingly a significant number of people aren’t registered with a dentist at all. No doubt the availability of NHS dentists is a factor; in turn the dental health of the nation must be suffering. And it’s not just dental health. Regular check ups enable dentists to identify early signs of mouth cancers and refer patients on for treatment. Early identification and treatment is more likely to result in successful outcomes."
If the government is serious about health and claims to be putting more money into the NHS some of it needs putting into NHS dentistry now.