Warrington patients report problems with dentist appointments


Warrington RESIDENTS have reported difficulty making dental appointments and even registering with dentists.

It comes as unions have warned that NHS dentistry is ‘hanging by a thread’ with some patients having to wait two years for routine check-ups.

The Warrington Guardian asked readers on Facebook if they had any problems making an appointment to see their dentist.

We received over 150 comments, with readers sharing their woes at even being able to register with a dental practice in town.

One reader said: ‘I can’t even find an NHS dentist. I call and they are all taking private patients but not NHS patients.

“I’m now looking at having to shell out thousands of dollars for private dental work.”

Another said they ‘can’t be registered anywhere’ with surgeries taking no new NHS patients, while another commenter said he was having trouble seeing a dentist, despite having a tooth since broken almost a year.

A possible issue raised in some areas is the number of dentists leaving the area, but this is much less of an issue in Warrington compared to other locations as the number of dentists in the town has remained constant over the past five years .

Warrington patients report difficulties at dentists as unions warn sector ‘hanging by a thread’

In 2017, 139 dentists were registered in the NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group area, down from 134 in 2021, a drop of just 5% in five years.

Other parts of England have seen much higher turnover among dentists, such as NHS Portsmouth CCG, which has lost 30 dentists over the past five years, or 26%.

Data from England and Wales shows that more than 2,500 dental positions have been lost in the two countries – made up of more than 1,000 dentists, some of whom worked in multiple fields.

At least one town in England has been unable to attract a single candidate for NHS dental vacancies for two years.

Shawn Charlwood, from the British Dental Association, said: ‘NHS dentistry is hanging by a thread because without NHS dentists there will be no NHS dentistry.

“This is a really serious situation, and every dentist that is lost or every vacancy for NHS dentistry that remains vacant affects thousands of patients in terms of their care and their ability to access care.

“Years of failed contracts and underfunding have meant that a growing number of dentists no longer see the NHS as a place to build a career.

“The pandemic has upped the ante and we are now facing an exodus.”

Warrington patients report difficulties at dentists as unions warn sector 'hanging by a thread'

Warrington patients report difficulties at dentists as unions warn sector ‘hanging by a thread’

Concerns have also been raised about the usefulness of NHS England’s ‘Find a Dentist’ tool, which was created to help patients find an NHS dentist in their area.

The analysis shows that around 75% of practices in England had not updated the site to indicate whether or not they were accepting NHS patients in the past three months.

Healthwatch acting director Chris McCann said getting up-to-date information on where people can access services is a “real problem”.

To find the cause of problems accessing dentists in the city, the Warrington Guardian contacted NHS Warrington CCG, who referred us to NHS England and NHS Improvement North West.

We then received a statement from a national NHS spokesperson who said: ‘The NHS has taken unprecedented action to support NHS dentists throughout the pandemic by providing additional funding to practices unable to provide their usual activity levels, alongside the rapid establishment of 600 urgent dental treatments. centers across England so that patient services can be maintained during the pandemic.

“People should continue to show up for the dental care they need, and the care and treatment of those who need it most should be prioritized.”

The spokesperson added that anyone with dental pain or in need of support, help or advice can phone their own dental practice in the usual way.

If you don’t have a regular dentist and are in urgent need, the spokesperson says, you can contact the dental helpline on 0161 476 9651.


Comments are closed.