Advice for NHS Dental Contractors: updating your NHS website profile

Many dental practices are not updating their information on the NHS website. The Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, and Healthwatch are urging dental contractors to review their profiles, to help patients find dental care more easily.
A woman in a dentist's chair, being shown an x-ray by a male dentist

In their December 2020 report, Healthwatch England found that more than 7 in 10 people (73%) found it difficult to access dental health and support when they needed it.

One of the issues raised was the lack of accurate (or any) information about whether dentists are taking on NHS patients. The main source of this information comes from the nhs.uk website, where patients can search for a dentist near them.

However, many dental practices are not updating their information on the NHS website. 

Instead, many patients looking for an NHS dentist find that the dental practice's profile states: 'This dentist has not supplied this information in the last 90 days. Contact the dentist directly for more information'.

The lack of accurate, or any information about whether there are dentists taking on NHS patients is a real problem and is masking potentially bigger issues around shortage of provision. The Government needs to make it a legal requirement of the dental contract to regularly update information on their websites and on NHS.UK. NHS England must also ensure that their “Find a dentist” website is kept up to date and both dentists and patients are clear about the NHS dental treatment charges.
— Healthwatch England, 'What people are telling us: July to September 2020'

Since the report was published, the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, and Healthwatch England have written to dental contractors, urging them review and update their information.

The letter includes guidance on how to update an NHS profile, and a range of materials that can be used to communicate changes to dental practice services, and provide information on how the public can access dental treatment.

Click below to download a copy of the letter in full.

Downloads

Updating your NHS website profile: a letter from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Healthwatch

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