Local councillors and community representatives are working with NHS England to improve access to dentistry in the Camelford area.
A sub-group of the Camelford Community Network Panel will look at the outcomes from a survey earlier this year, in which nearly 850 people set out where they went for check-ups and treatment, and what difficulties they faced in such a rural area.
The aim is to analyse the results and make suggestions for change that could be made to improve local service provision. The previous NHS dental surgery in Camelford closed in 2012 because it had too few patients.
The sub-group will then pass its findings to NHS England for formal consideration.
Among the survey’s key findings were that:
- 64% of respondents were registered with an NHS dentist (compared to 58% across Devon and Cornwall)
- Bude was the most-used dentist (41%), followed by Wadebridge (19%) and Bodmin (12%)
- 9% said the last time they went to see a dentist had been in Camelford
- 5% of people were unable to attend a dentist because of lack of available services
- 74% reported problems/concerns with their teeth at least once over the previous 12 months
- 42% needed to see the dentist at this point in time
- Satisfaction levels with dental treatment were high with 49% being ‘very satisfied’ and 31% being ‘quite satisfied’ with the treatment they received
- The lack of a local service was seen as a barrier to seeking dental care by two thirds (66%) of respondents, while 38% cited the costs of treatment as a barrier
- A quarter (25%) found getting transport to the dentist difficult
- For the vast majority (94%), the availability of a local NHS practice would help them access dental treatment for them and their families
- For nine in 10 of those who had not visited the dentist over the past 12 months, they would have done so if a local service was available
- On average it took respondents 38 minutes to travel to their dentist, with 84% travelling by car
- Doctors’ surgeries were closer to respondents, with an average travelling time of just 12 minutes and with many respondents being able to walk to the surgery
- The doctors’ surgery in Camelford was used by 43% of respondents
- In order to go shopping, 82% used their family car and on average it took respondents 26 minutes to reach their shopping destination
- Household shopping was mainly done in Wadebridge (38%) and Bodmin (32%)
The sub-group’s membership includes Cornwall councillors, town and parish councillors, service user representatives, dental advisers and NHS England.
Andrew Harris, dental contract manager for NHS England in the South West, said: “It’s excellent to be able to work closely with local communities like this, so we can understand the issues that people face and do our best to make improvements. We have to bear in mind that the last surgery couldn’t sustain itself as a business, so it’s about finding a realistic, sustainable solution for the long term.”
Cornwall Councillor Rob Rotchell, chair of the Camelford Community Network Panel, said: “We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey. It’s given us some fascinating insights into how people get – or don’t get – their NHS dental care. Armed with that information, we’ll be looking at the options for improving things for the future, and advising NHS England accordingly.”
A full analysis of the dental survey is available here
For further details please contact Sarah Sims here