Dental Health

‘Dental desert’ for sufferers stays in Hampshire, Healthwatch says

Image caption,

Mobile dental clinics have provided 640 treatments so far in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

  • Author, Emily Hudson
  • Role, BBC News

Large parts of Hampshire remain “dental deserts” for those in need of treatment, a health watchdog has said.

People in pain, on low incomes or who have not seen a dentist for two years get priority.

But Healthwatch Hampshire said the number of patients was not matching demand.

Image caption,

Healthwatch’s Siobhain McCurrach said emergency appointments were difficult for people to find

More than 160 patients have attended appointments on the mobile dental clinics since they went on the road four weeks ago.

Dentaid, which operate the clinics, said 640 dental treatments had been provided to those people.

It is targeting deprived communities where access to NHS dentistry is low.

But all appointments available on the Isle of Wight in the next three months are already booked. There is also concern some areas will not see the buses at all.

Image caption,

Simon Cooper, who is on the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, said more dentists were needed

Siobhain McCurrach, an area director for Healthwatch, said: “There are no new dentists in the middle and north of Hampshire offering new patients any access to NHS appointments.

“Only people in desperate need will get an emergency appointment – these are extremely difficult to find and probably a long way from where they are.”

Simon Cooper, who is on the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, said: “This was something we could put in as quick as we can to increase capacity.

“Longer term we do need to increase the number of dentists working within the NHS but we are working within the national contract.”

The government launched its dental recovery plan in February. This involves offering dentists incentives to take NHS patients.

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