Peterborough dental patients still struggling to get an appointment
Dental patients in Peterborough are still struggling to get an appointment, local councillors have revealed.
At a meeting of the council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, concerns were raised about ongoing access problems for dental patients, although it was confirmed that there have been major improvements in the speed of getting primary care appointments since the start of lockdown.
Like all practices in the UK, clinics in Peterborough closed in March, and there were issues at the start with gaining access to urgent dental care. NHS England set up a vast network of urgent dental centres, with two located in the city. Although the emergency hubs have played an instrumental role in enabling patients to access urgent treatment, they are reserved for those in need of immediate assistance, and therefore, hundreds of people have been unable to get treatment for minor and moderate dental conditions.
Dental practices in England have been able to open since June 8th, but many patients are finding it difficult to book appointments, as most practices are prioritising urgent cases and restricting patient numbers to reduce the risk of infection.
David Barter, head of commissioning at NHS England and NHS Improvement East of England, told the committee that dentistry was one of the worst-affected health services as a result of the risks associated with working in close proximity to patient’s mouths and carrying out procedures, which spread droplets. Practices are up and running again and they are working hard to clear backlogs and ensure patients who need emergency treatment can secure appointments. Due to limited appointments, it may take several months to run ‘normal’ services again.Join this Discussion