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Two years ago, just as Shutdown was enforced, I was due to have a crown fitted. My appoinment was cancelled and because I understood the situation, waited to be recalled. 
It didn't happen. During the next 2 years I tried phoning, six times in total, leaving a message each time as the answering machine was permanently on. Eventually, just before this Christmas, I drove in to make an appointment. 

The practice car park was closed but I took a chance and parked. When I went inside I made an appoinment, not for 3 months. When I asked why the car park had been closed I was told the management were fed up paying for staff car repairs due to damage caused by patient's bad driving.  CCTV? I was told it was up to me where I parked my car. I do not have family to drop me off and pick me up as many patients seem to be doing.

I asked the dentist why no one answered telephone messages and was told it was lack of funding.
During shutdown, the practice has been installed on an online system now.

Because a new filling fell out a few days after my recent appoinment I again tried to make another appoinment by phone. Same thing Nothing. I then tried to make an appoinment by going online. No luck. Eventually, yesterday, I drove to the practice, parked in the closed carpark and went in personally. I have to wait until May 17th for an ASP appointment. I was told if I had any problems to contact them When I asked how,  that I had not been able to contact them by phone or online,  I was told it was because the receptionist was on her own. For 2 1/2 years?
I have never been able to get registered as a NHS patient because of the lack of dentists down here in the sticks.
Is everyone else having the same problems?


  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 36,196
    You are not on your own Joyce Goldenlily. My dentist decided that the enforced closure was as good a time as any to retire and I do not blame him in the slightest. I have been trying ever since to get taken on by another dentist - promises of call backs etc. but to no avail and I am still without a dentist - though reassuringly (not!) a recorded message tells me to call them and they will give me an emergency number to ring if I am desperate.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,427
    edited March 2022
    No, funnily enough I made a good friend on here,we lived 9 miles apart,hit it off straight away. Our dentist was going private,she recommended hers,about 5miles away,in a small quant town,old building,but state of the art. I even managed to get an appointment for pain during lockdown, with a private dentist there,but she didn't even charge me NHS rate. Received email this week to make appointment for checkup. Where my daughter lives grandkids dentist went private,she was on a scheme,paid so much a month, grandaughters white filling (apparently they don't do any other type) still cost £100!! She's never found an NHS dentist in her town. Mind you,our experience with GP fits with what you have said,but there is no car park anywhere near,you have to park at the station,and still to this day,you aren't allowed in without an appointment  the door is locked.
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,674
    When I left the UK I needed a lot of dental work, We went to the local dentist here (equivalent of an NHS dentist) got an appointment the next day everything done. took 5 trips and about £2000.
    During covid nothing changed, dentists stayed open, they had a small change, more space in the waiting area, the practice door was locked and they called you in. face shields and disposable robes as well as the normal masks and gloves. But no problem getting an appointment, (unlike at the Drs that take a degree in secretary psychology.)

    The system here is for the user the same as the UK, you can be private or not you pay either which way but it costs less and you get less choice if you are not private. (white fillings are the only type)
    When I have had a filling fall out or break they've always had a time the next day for at least a temporary fix, normally a full fix.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,721
    Thank goodness my son is a dentist! But he is in France. His surgery didn't close down during Covid but there were stricter sanitary arrangements which meant a longer wait between each patient. It made the waiting list longer but he always kept empty appointments for emergencies, even if that meant missing his lunch break.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • At least I am not the only one. My dentist had to remove the pictures they put on the ceiling for patients to look at during treatment. They also had to wash the floor between each patient when lock down was in place for emergencies only.
    I had not realised she rents a room in the building as the practice is run by a management group. They seem to run a large percentage of practices in the local area so the dentists themselves are to a large extent, at the mercy of the management group.
  • ErgatesErgates Posts: 2,196
    This is heartbreaking to hear. My brother in law has been struggling along through lockdown,  running his practice when they were allowed to open, with all the extra cleaning ( and it was always spotless before Covid ) and sweating away behind extra layers of PPE and industrial face masks. Got swamped with emergencies, but restricted on how much NHS work he could do, by the contract with the local NHS commissioners. Once he had reached the previously agreed limit, that was it. Wouldn’t get paid for any more.
    Before I retired, there was a small fortune spent on setting up Dental Access Centres, specifically to provide emergency treatment for people with no dentist. What happened to them? I’d heard that many had closed as cost saving exercises.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,180
    I have to say that we had no problems with accessing our local (private) dentist during Covid. They stayed open throughout but observed strict hygiene rules and limited the number of patients so they could deep clean between each. 
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,045
    We are fortunate enough to have a good NHS dentist.  My sister-in-law had an appointment last week.  Patients must arrive no more than 5 minutes before their appointment and must wear masks.  She said all the staff are still fully masked up, so it does bring into question the need for patients to wear them for the couple of minutes they are alone in the waiting room.  Obviously they can't wear them during treatment.
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,944
    My local practice has now started to insist on pre payment for further appointments.  I visited today with the Hygienist and as I do this every 3 months, I booked my next appointment only to be told that I would have to pay for both visits.  £100 rather than £50.
    It would seem that they have instigated this measure as they are still having patients who book an appointment and rather than cancel, just fail to turn up. Waste of the dentist's time and causing delays for other genuine patients,  Hard to argue with that but still a bit of a shock.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,180
    @philippasmith2, as you say ouch! I only visit the hygienist every six months though as my teeth are in reasonable nick.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
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