Cost of dentistry leads to much needed treatment being put off by residents in North Tyneside - Chronicle Live

2022-07-01 20:52:44 By : Ms. Darcy Luo

Hundreds of people have said the price of dentistry is beyond what they can afford and is a 'significant barrier to getting treatment'

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Residents of North Tyneside are putting off “much needed” dental treatment because of the financial cost.

North Tyneside council’s health and wellbeing board heard a report from Healthwatch North Tyneside detailing residents’ concerns about access to NHS dentists. Healthwatch surveyed 235 people across the borough for its report.

50% of those surveyed said cost was a significant barrier to getting treatment. In the worst cases people opt to have teeth removed rather than repaired. Healthwatch also observed that private dental care is out of reach for many.

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One resident told the report: “I’m on benefits and worried about bills and not being able to pay them, hence why I’m opting for the removal of the ones [teeth] with old large fillings. They need to be more accessible and affordable.

“I haven’t been for a while as I simply couldn’t afford to pay. Now I’m left with no dentist”.

Residents also expressed frustration with being able to find dentists taking on NHS patients. 31 people reported finding a dentist was “fraught with difficulties” which “involved ringing round multiple dentists in the area”.

An investigation carried out by Healthwatch found that 10 dental practices had incorrect information about NHS patient registration on their websites. One website had not been updated since 2011.

This was partially credited to patients being delisted after not attending for a prolonged period of time. However, some residents complained that even if they were registered with an NHS practice they could not get an appointment within a reasonable timescale.

The report concluded with several recommendations. These included better communication with the population about the costs of dentistry and the support available to help people afford treatment. In addition, Healthwatch recommended the issue of dental health and potential barriers to treatment should be focused on.

Chair of the health and wellbeing board and Longbenton councillor said: “Thank you so much for this very detailed report. I firmly believe that the experience of our service users should inform ongoing, continuous improvement of our services. It should be a really strong influence and I think there are some really hard hitting things that have come out of this.”

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