People power

Public opinion will be sought about NHS dental services in Cumbria following the launch of a new campaign.

The county’s three health forums have joined forces with others across the country to launch ‘Dentistry Watch’, and the campaign is keen to ask people what they think about the matter.

The Cumbrian Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums, which are independent of their local NHS trust, want to gauge how easy or difficult it is for the public to access NHS dental services. They also want to hear patients’ experience of treatments and gather the views of dentists themselves.

Kevin Morrall, chair of Cumbria Primary Care Trust PPI Forum, told The Whitehaven News: ‘In 2006 new measures came in to improve the provision of NHS dental care throughout England.

‘These gave each Primary Care Trust a duty to provide reasonable dental care services in their area to meet local patient demand. However, evidence suggests that numerous people are either unable to register with an NHS dentist close to their home, or do not know how to find one.

‘Many PCTs are also struggling to find the budget to encourage private dental practices back into the NHS system due to lack of funding.

‘We hope by questioning patients, the general public and dentists, we will be able to provide an accurate picture of NHS dental provision: whether it matches current government figures and the overall quality of care.’

Patients will be questioned until the beginning of September, with the findings being available in October.

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