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Barriers to dental care for these Londoners

Image credit: 'The Grio'

A REPORT entitled ‘Accessing dental services in Camden: experiences of local people’, conducted by Healthwatch Camden found that local people are experiencing difficulties when attempting to access dental care in the London borough of Camden.

The barriers identified add to the already existing lack of motivation to attend dental appointments, unless there’s an emergency. Barriers include: lack of clarity about NHS charges, difficulty getting a timely appointment, unwelcoming staff, and no motivation to attend preventive care appointments.

Despite this, many of the people surveyed felt positive about their experience with dental care services in Camden.

Healthwatch Camden Director, Frances Hasler says:

“Among those we surveyed, the most common reasons for failing to visit a dentist were concern and confusion about NHS costs and not thinking it was important.

“This theme was echoed in our Bangladeshi and Somali communities, who said that it is also difficult to know the cost of dental services and to know what the NHS actually covers.

“We welcome the proactive response from local dentists who have nominated a representative to work with us and Camden council to take forward our recommendations and remove some of the barriers that local people experience."

In the report, room for improvement was highlighted by responses such as:

“I don’t understand the charges, what’s available on the NHS or how to find an NHS dentist.”

“You are better treated when paying.”

“The waiting time for appointments is too long.”

Healthwatch Camden says that it hopes "A collaborative approach between organisations will result in improvements in dental care services for everyone."

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