After dental practices shut down during the first national Coronavirus lockdown in 2020, NHS England and the NHS Improvement Dental Commissioning Team set up the South West Dental Reform Programme. Its aim was to help dental practices resume NHS services and treatment following the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also reviewing and listening to public feedback about dentists - including feedback collected by Healthwatch.
Aware that there is a backlog of patients waiting to be seen by an NHS dentist, the South West Dental Reform Programme has set up a working group to look at improving the accessibility of treatment. Short term priorities include creating an extra one thousand Urgent Care appointments per week in high street primary care practices across the South West, and reviewing seven dental helplines.
In addition to the working group, NHS England and NHS Improvement South West want to establish two new Dental Managed Clinical Networks (MCNs), Children & Urgent, in the area. MCNs are networks of health staff and health care organisations, working together to improve services.
Are you still finding it difficult to see an NHS dentist? Share your feedback with us by clicking the pink 'Talk to us' button below.