Specialist Dental Project: Care home access to dental care

Access to NHS dentist services in Lincolnshire has been difficult for a long time. Access for people who live in a care home to NHS dentistry is even more of a challenge.
dental

To learn more about the impact of dentist services and experiences people are having in care home settings, Healthwatch has completed work with both staff and the patients/residents.

Conclusions

Healthwatch recognise the geographic and service challenges for patients accessing NHS dental services in Lincolnshire. We also understand the need to ensure that any service or strategic change needs to be sustainable in the long term.
Following our findings we would urge the people commissioning and delivering NHS dental services to consider the overwhelming themes and trends from the people we spoke to about the challenges that impact on ‘day to day’ work and life within the care home sector relating to oral care.

Anecdotally we hear that there is enough capacity within the dental sector but that does not seem to concur with what people tell us when trying to access these services. Therefore we consider the need for greater transparency and a holistic approach to supporting equality at a very local level ‘rather than county level’ and access to care in a sustainable way for the future which is equitable with other parts of the country.
We welcome the opportunity to share our findings as widely as possible in the hope that we can share the voices of some of the most vulnerable people in our county and help influence service change.

Report findings are shared with Oral Health Alliance, Local Professional Dental Network, NHS England, LinCA, Healthwatch England, Lincolnshire County Council, Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Health and Adults. Public Health England, Health Education England.

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