An almost two-year wait for a routine dental appointment has been blamed on a shortage of dentists — although health bosses said the number of Isle of Wight dentists had increased.
A patient at My Dentist, Pyle Street, Newport, booked a check-up for November, following a routine dental appointment in January this year.
But last week she received a letter cancelling the appointment and advising her to call the surgery.
She was told the next available appointment was September next year. She was told she could see a hygeinist is June — but it would cost £50.
Patient: “A terrible state of affairs”
“The receptionist told me there were only two dentists at the practice now.
“It’s a terrible state of affairs when people have to wait so long for what is essentially a routine appointment.
“It’s just another example of NHS shortages. There have been so many cuts there isn’t enough money to fund what should be a very basic service.”
The NHS recommended time between check-ups varies, and can be as short as three months, or as long as two years.
The patient said:
“I’m just lucky I don’t have anything wrong with my teeth. But what about other patients?”
NHS England: Increased dental capacity on Island
A spokesperson for NHS England said it was unable to discuss individual cases.
Any patient in pain, or who requires urgent dental treatment, can access care via the NHS 111 helpline, and an urgent appointment with a local dentist will be booked within 24 hours.
An NHS spokesperson said:
“NHS England has recently increased the dental capacity on the Island, however, we are aware that some practices are currently experiencing staffing shortages.
“We are working with providers to ensure that all is done to fill the existing vacancies as quickly as possible. Any patient in pain should contact 111 and ask for the Dental Helpline, who will be able to book them an urgent appointment or direct them to nearest practice offering routine care.
“A patient whose routine appointment is cancelled will normally have the opportunity to rebook, but If the patient remains unhappy with their dental care, they can complain to the dentist or to NHS England.”
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some additions by OnTheWight. Ed