DDU responds to Healthwatch report; states difficulties caused by pandemic not the fault of dental professionals


  Posted by: Dental Design      10th December 2020

Responding to the recent Healthwatch report about the impact of the pandemic on dental services, John Makin, head of the DDU, said: “We note the findings of the Healthwatch report and sympathise with patients who are experiencing the difficulties described in accessing dental care. Dental professionals understand patient’s frustrations and are working within the current system and restrictions to provide high quality care.” The Healthwatch report, which drew feedback from dental patients regarding their experiences between July and September 2020, concluded that patients were often unable to get the care they needed, leaving them in pain and at risk of serious long-term oral health issues as a result of the pandemic.

John Makin continued:

“Patients have been understanding on the whole but, as the report shows, some are dissatisfied with long-standing contractual issues on patient registration and the difficulties caused by the pandemic, which are not of individual practitioners’ making. For example, the backlog of patients requiring treatment caused by the suspension of routine care during the first lockdown and the restrictions now in place on numbers of patients who can be seen and treatments available.

“At the DDU we are already seeing the impact of the pandemic in the number of complaints we are supporting our members with and cases are unfortunately likely to increase. When examining the current situation, it’s really important that the context in which colleagues are currently working is taken into account. This has been acknowledged by the CDO, the GDC and others. Our members are at the sharp end of dealing with the types of incidents identified by Healthwatch and we encourage them to get in touch with us for expert support in responding to patient concerns.”

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