This briefing will be discussed by a local Scrutiny Committee at their next meeting on Wednesday 16th March 2022. Scrutiny Committees gather information about issues impacting local people, and use this to make recommendations to Sheffield City Council.
The briefing gives a timeline of changes to NHS dentistry throughout the pandemic, and shares personal stories from some of those affected. It also draws out the following key themes from the last two years:
- People have found it difficult to get clear information: this includes confusion about 'registering' with a dentist, pricing, and more, and has left people unsure of their rights
- Some people were unable to access urgent care: people have told us they've been left in pain, or unable to eat or talk properly
- People who have a regular dentist have had a different experience to people who don’t: people who were unable to access care were more likely to have not had a regular dentist before the pandemic, and now they cannot get one
- A growing rift - NHS vs private care: we are concerned about the growing waiting lists for NHS check ups (over two years at most practices), and the fact that private care seems more readily available for those who can afford to pay
- The impact of delayed treatment: we know that preventative care and treating smaller issues as they arise are important for people's longer term health outcomes
- Children’s access to NHS dentistry: there is growing concern for children born during or shortly before the pandemic, who have never had the opportunity to see a dentist, and the impact this could have on their long term health
This briefing will be discussed at the next Healthier Communities and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 16th March 2022 at 10am.
This is a public meeting, which you can attend in person or watch via a webcast. You can also submit a question ahead of the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about NHS dentistry
We're supporting a campaign led by our umbrella organisation Healthwatch England. We're calling for NHS England and the Government to step in and act now to speed up dental contract reform and provide meaningful, sustained funding to tackle the underlying problems of access and affordability.
NHS dentistry should be in the frontline of tackling health inequalities and at the moment it is not working.