A new survey reveals 94% of patients were able to get an appointment with a NHS dentist in the last two years.
That’s according to dental statistics released from the GP Patient Survey.
In the most recent period (July to September 2012), 1.4 million adults were asked about access to NHS dentistry in the previous two years.
Participants were asked if they had tried to obtain an appointment with an NHS dentist, and if so, whether it was with a practice they had been to before and had they been successful.
They were also asked what their overall experience was of NHS dentistry
Patients who hadn’t tried to obtain an NHS dentist in the previous two years were asked to select the main reason why they hadn’t tried.
1.4 million adults were contacted and 475,000 replies were received with a response rate of 34.8%.
Of all respondents asked, 60% stated they have tried to get an NHS dental appointment in the last two years.
Success in getting an NHS dental appointment was lower for those going to a practice they had not been to before, younger adults and for ethnic minorities.
83% of respondents who tried to get an appointment in the last two years rated their NHS dental experience as positive (47% very good and 36% fairly good);
Of the 40% who did not try to get an appointment with an NHS dentist in the last two years, 22% had not tried at all and 18% last tried over two years ago.
The main reason given for not trying to get an appointment was ‘not needed to visit the dentist’ which was mentioned by a fifth of adults (20%) who did not try.
38% of those who did not try to get an NHS dental appointment gave private dentistry as the reason, 19% stating they prefer private dentistry and 18% staying when their dentist move from NHS to private.
14% of the respondents, who didn’t try to get an NHS dental appointment, gave their reason as: ‘I didn’t think I could get an NHS dental appointment.’