People are being forced to pay for private dental care says Healthwatch England

People are being forced to pay for private dental care says Healthwatch England

People are being forced to pay for private dental care if their problem is ‘not emergency’ says the watchdog, Healthwatch, England. They said they had heard it from people unable to access treatment. They said that in some instances people have “no choice” but to pay for private dental care if their issue is not considered to be an emergency.

The watchdog said it would continue to monitor issues with dentistry. Its latest report focuses on issues raised across health and care organisations during the coronavirus pandemic. The report highlights how even before the pandemic, the organisation “regularly heard from people who were struggling to find a dentist in some parts of the country”. And the situation has “become challenging for even more people” since the pandemic hit.

The report also points to specific problems people had accessing dental care over the last few months. Other issues included people not knowing how to access emergency dental care, people being misdirected between services and in some cases, patients being charged for PPE.

It is known that some private providers put an additional PPE levy on their dental care fees but it is unclear from the report whether or not this occurred in some NHS dental services too. NHS dentists are not permitted to pass on additional costs of PPE to a patient.

They said: “Since the beginning of July, people have started to tell us they feel they have no option but to go private if they want to receive treatment for what their dentist has deemed non-emergency treatment. While routine appointments were on hold, people did not know how to access emergency dental care – causing them extra stress while experiencing acute dental pain or other serious symptoms.

“In June, as dental practices started to reopen for routine appointments, we heard that the information being provided from some services was inconsistent or confusing, leaving people unsure about whether they were running again, and what treatment would be available.

“Some people reported being told to call their dental practice by NHS 111, only to be redirected back to NHS 111 by the dental practice’s voicemail message. We also heard about some cases of dentists applying additional charges to patients to cover the cost of PPE, making dental care even less accessible.

“It was not clear from our evidence whether people ended up paying for private treatment or were paying more than the NHS treatment band costs.”

Anthony Kilcoyne
Last edited on 14.09.2020 15:50 by Anthony Kilcoyne
Forced to pay or an already inadequately resourced NHS GDS Dental system worsening??
Dear All,

We do need to pushback against stories like this, making it sound like Dentists fault rather than an already inadequate NHS GDS Dental system that struggled to see even 50% of the population once, in a two-year period pre-Covid !!

So now it is even worse having been closed for months and many new requirements and costs slowing everything down, so access worse overall but yes if prepared to pay directly, once can have improved access directly.

You can listen to my interview here on LBC Radio last week, directly addressing this story after the prominent Times article expressing 'Dentist Dearth' woes in the press too:

Yours also observationally ,



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