Healthwatch welcomes new NHS dental services for Lincolnshire

Sarah Fletcher - chief executive of Healthwatch Lincolnshire. EMN-180726-150315001
Sarah Fletcher - chief executive of Healthwatch Lincolnshire. EMN-180726-150315001

A Lincolnshire patients’ watchdog has welcomed plans for £3.39m investment in new dental services for towns in Lincolnshire.

NHS England have confirmed new contracts for NHS dental treatment in the county from January 2019.

These include new, year-round services for Sleaford, Lincoln and Spalding between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week for routine and urgent care dental treatment to anyone who is not registered with an NHS dental practice.

Once treated patients will be encouraged to register with a practice for future dental needs.

New NHS dental services will be extended in Boston from 9am to 5pm with additional 1.5 hours twice a week either early morning or evening and a further 3.5 hours on a Saturday or Sunday. These services will only close on Christmas and New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday.

Availability of NHS Dental services have been of a concern to Healthwatch Lincolnshire for the past year and Sarah Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer of Healthwatch said: “on behalf of Lincolnshire residents the announcement this week from NHS England is very welcomed”.

She said: “Healthwatch has received an unprecedented number of calls from Lincolnshire residents concerning access to NHS Dental services and this is one great example of how people’s voices can make a difference. Healthwatch continued to share all of the comments we received (anonymously) with NHS England and as a result they recognised the need to provide new dental services in Lincolnshire sooner rather than later”.

The news is not great for everyone in Lincolnshire just yet, NHS England were unable to secure any services for Louth, Skegness or Spilsby. NHS England plans are to continue to find a suitable organisation to deliver these services as soon as possible.