People in Birmingham and Solihull face severe barriers to getting NHS dental treatment, our investigation into the experiences of over 800 local residents with Healthwatch Solihull reveals.
Challenges such as lack of access, long waiting times for treatment, lack of information or clarity around NHS dental capacity in Birmingham and Solihull, affordability, and poor access to urgent and emergency dental care are leading some people to:
- Forgo or reduce much needed treatment.
- Access private dental care, which is often not affordable and has left some people in debt.
- Using A & E or frequently calling NHS 111 to access services.
The report How easy is it access NHS dentistry in Birmingham and Solihull? also portrays an NHS dental system under severe pressure from factors such as increased demand for NHS services, issues with funding and problems recruiting and retaining staff.
In response to these findings, the NHS England/Improvement Dental (West Midlands) Team and the Local Dental Committees for Birmingham and Solihull have committed to improvements including:
- Reviewing NHS dental capacity to identify areas of high need.
- Better communication with patients.
- Eradicating claims that ‘NHS patients are welcomed’ by dentists only offering patients private care.