Concerns raised about ‘thousands’ in the Borough of Gedling without access to the NHS dentist.

Concerns have been expressed to health officials about the ‘thousands of people’ in the district of Gedling with little or no access to an NHS dentist.

Councilor Henry Wheeler, who represents Gedling on the county health board, called for a report to be created on funding for local dental offices after large numbers of patients in the borough complained about the lack of access to services.

Mr Wheeler said GPs in the area were touched as patients turned to them for pain relief to deal with lingering dental issues.

The report was created for Mr Wheeler by Deputy Head of Primary Care East Midlands NHS England and NHS Improvement Liz Gundel and answers questions that have been raised about funding and access to dental care in the borough.

The report said local practices had been heavily impacted by the recent pandemic and that although things are improving, it is still not “as if nothing has happened”.

The report states: ‘Although face-to-face services have resumed in all practices, NHS dental offices are working at a much lower capacity as they follow social distancing and hygiene rules in accordance with national guidelines set by Public Health England, to ensure the safety of our fellow clinicians and patients.

“Since dental services began to reopen in June 2020, there have been steady improvements in access, as changes in infection prevention and control guidelines, the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and processes and procedures are becoming more familiar to dental teams and patients. But it’s not business as usual yet.

“NHS England and the NHS Improvement (NHSEI) are supporting the full resumption of routine dental care in a safe, operational way and allowing dental practices to do what is best for patients and their teams.

PICTURED: Councilor Henry Wheeler

“NHSEI can also categorically confirm that funding for dental care has remained in place, with all contractors receiving 100% of their regular monthly contract payments, throughout the pandemic. Additional funds have been deployed to the Midlands region to provide additional access to patient services after hours (evenings and weekends) in an attempt to alleviate the challenges posed by the necessary reduction in routine dentistry ability.

“Practices are encouraged to see all regular and non-regular patients (historically referred to as registered patients), where they can fit. Routine appointments available are limited as it depends on the capacity of each practice, following the treatment of any urgent patient.

“This may mean that even patients who (before the pandemic) regularly attended a dental office, can currently only be seen in practice if they meet the criteria to safely access an urgent face-to-face appointment. . “

The report went on to say that the NHSEI now hopes to see an increase in capacity for patients across the borough.

He said, “The NHSEI monitors and supports providers across the region, works in conjunction with the local dental committee and other stakeholders to increase capacity, provide continued access to dental services, and ensure recovery and restoration. full safety of NHS dentistry after the Covid-19 pandemic. “

But despite assurances, Councilor Wheeler wants urgent action to reduce the pressure seen in other areas of the NHS due to the backlog of patients.

Councilor Wheeler said Geedling eye: “It is very important that people can access dental care, which is why I asked for clarification on funding and access to dental care in the district of Gedling following concerns raised that thousands of people in the borough could not access dental care ”.

“Dentists have had to prioritize urgent work over routine inspections and non-urgent treatments. ”

“However, the backlog of treatment leads people to fall back on their GP for pain relief or go to A&E and this needs to be dealt with urgently as part of a larger local NHS Covid recovery plan and adequately funded “.

Patients in the Borough are having difficulty accessing specific services or wish to make a complaint should contact the NHS England Customer Contact Center on 0300 311 22 33 or www.england.nhs.uk/contact-us/ For more help.

A spokesperson said, “Raising issues through the customer service center allows for a full investigation so that we are then in a better position to help complaints address their specific concerns and issues.”

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