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Getting dental appointments in Derby may soon get easier, say NHS bosses

today7 September 2022 1

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Major problems over getting dentist appointments in Derby could begin to ease within a matter of weeks, NHS bosses have suggested. NHS Dentistry leaders told a Derby City Council meeting that access for adult and child patients should hopefully ease up from October – making it easier to get an appointment.

They said the agreement of new reforms to the NHS dental contract will help tackle major issues in the industry and allow more patients to be seen across Derby city where, like other cities, there have been access difficulties since the coronavirus pandemic. The new reforms mean NHS dentists will be paid more for treating more complex cases, such as people who need three fillings or more. Dental therapists will also be able to accept patients for NHS treatments, providing fillings, sealants, preventative care for adults and children, which will free up dentists’ time for urgent and complex cases.

The lack of dentistry access in Derby has led to major concerns about people’s health and well-being declining as a result, especially people’s oral health. Earlier this year urgent meetings were called by worried councillors in Derby to discuss problems and experiences people were facing about getting an NHS dentist appointment.

Another meeting was called this week which focused mainly on the difficulties for children to get urgent and regular dentist appointments within the city. A report by the NHS says children’s access to dental care in Derby had been “badly affected” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NHS bosses say that several dental practices have gone or are in the process of going private “to remain viable” and therefore charging higher prices for treatment compared to NHS fixed prices. It is also said some dentists are opting “not to stay in the NHS”.

Speaking at a children and young persons committee meeting on Monday, NHS bosses said they were aware of the challenging issues in Derby but felt improvements would soon be made when the new reforms take effect from October onwards.

Adam Morby, chief dentist for the Midlands, said: “There are some new reforms coming in from October so hopefully they will start to make some improvements and inroads into the issues we are finding. Hopefully those changes will increase the throughput of patients within practice because one issue that has been happening until now, with the pandemic and the delaying of patients being able to access the industry, is that patients are now coming in needing more requirement treat which is taking longer periods of time within practice to see those patients. “

Bosses say efforts have already been made to improve access for patients by implementing a number of schemes but due to the limited number of NHS practices in Derby city (six), uptake has been “quite limited”. Rose-Marie Lynch from NHS England and NHS Improvement Midlands said: “There are enough dentists in the UK however not all dentists want to stay in the NHS so that’s the challenge we have.”

Mr Morby could not guarantee that all problems will be solved at once but the new reforms were a “first step” along the process of better access. He added: “These initiatives will probably not answer everything but they are a first step on the process. We’ve got to try and retain practitioners and make the (NHS) packages an attractive offer and keep their businesses viable. “

To make services more accessible for people, dentists must update the NHS website and directory of services so patients can easily find the availability of dentists in their local area..

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