"I have been waiting over 2 years for dental care in Bradford"

About: Bradford and Airedale Teaching PCT

(as a service user),

I moved to Bradford approximately 3 years ago and began trying to register with a new dentist. I was told by all the local dentists that they were not taking NHS patients or any new patients at all.

Approx 2 yrs ago I saw an article in an NHS newsletter about a waiting list for a new Bradford Dental Surgery - I filled in the form and sent it back for myself and my husband straight away.

In Dec 2008 I received another letter asking me to confirm my interest on being on the waiting list - I filled in the form and sent it back as requested. I understand that they were consolidating several waiting lists or databases into one in preparation of the opening of the new surgery.

I have since called the Dental Services number every 3 months (whenever the Community Pride is distributed with the telephone number) and for almost a year now I have been told that I am on the waiting list and I will be contacted. The woman I have spoken with has always been helpful and courteous, but she still cannot give me any idea of when I might be seen?! She says that they list is very long and they have since closed the waiting list.

It has been 2 years since I have had any dental treatment or my teeth cleaned - my mouth feels disgusting. I am at the point of having my teeth cleaned privately, however the last time I did this it cost me £80 and I really cannot afford it this year.

I find it ridiculous that the NHS has not contacted me at all to notify me of when I MAY be able to obtain dental treatment. And when I do contact them, they cannot give me any answer.

I really feel as if I have to either be pregnant or have a rotten spot in my mouth in order to be seen.

In my opinion the way to get dental treatment right is prevention and regular visits with a dentist or hygienist –I do not think that 1 visit to the hygienist per year is too much to ask.

Furthermore, I would like to know what Bradford PCT is doing to meet the dental needs of the area. It seems to me that 1 new dental unit in Bradford and 2nd in Keighley is not enough to meet the demand - hundreds, possibly thousands of people are not being serviced.

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Response from

Thank you for your recent posting on the Patient Opinion website.

In the last 18 months NHS Bradford and Airedale have opened three new dental practices which will provide services for NHS patients, totalling a recurrent investment of £1.5 million. A fourth practice is set to open this spring (2010) at Thorncliffe Road, near Bradford City Football Club adding a further £520,000 per year investment on behalf of the residents of Bradford and Airedale. The new practice will see up to 5,600 patients a year. The surgery will be accessible by disabled people and is in a location with excellent transport links and parking facilities.

Figures show us that there has been a 4% increase on the number of patients visiting a dentist in the previous 2 years. We expect that trend to carry on as NHS Bradford and Airedale continue to invest in dental access and improvements in oral health such as the Flouride Varnish programme for the under 5s.

At one time the PALS database held some 24,000 names of people in the district that could not get an appointment with a dentist. This database was closed to new entries in September 2009 and the final patients on the database were offered an appointment with a dentist at the end of January.

I have consulted with my colleagues in the PALS team to investigate your concerns about the length of time you have been waiting on the database. However they need your full name, address and postcode to track your specific case through the database.

Details of dental practices accepting new patients are now available on the NHS Choices website. If a patient does not have internet access they can still contact a member of the PALS team who will access NHS Choices on their behalf.

I am sorry that you have not been able to access an NHS Dentist since moving into the Bradford area. Please contact me on 01274 237301 or 07957127590 and I will be happy to help you secure an appointment at one of the dentists who are currently taking on new patients.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely


Primary Care Facilitator

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Update posted by kstearn (a service user)

Hello Samantha,

At the time of making this posting I also wrote a formal letter of complaint to the Chief Executive Simon Morritt.

I was then soon thereafter allocated a place a local dentist office in Shipley and have already had 2 visits. I also received a reply to my letter from Simon's office giving similar information that which you have given above.

The speed with which I was contacted was very good - unfortunately I think the work being done in this area is still inadequate.

A 4% increase across the district is actually a pitiful figure. In Simon's letter it states the the increase has been from 53% to 58%. That means 42% DO NOT have access to a dentist. This is not something to be patting yourselves on the back about.

I know that funds are hard to be had at the moment, but if 'dental access and improving oral health are one of NHS Bradford & Airedale's main priorities' as stated in Simon's letter to me, you really are not doing enough. Not in my community anyway.

At the current rate of increase at 2% every year (and that is being generous as the figures were 2006 to June 2009), the residents of Bradford and Airedale can ALL expect to have a dentist by 2031. Wow.

Will that even keep up with the population increases in the area?

I think that fact speaks for itself. I am glad that I have a dentist now (the treatment I have received is also of a good standard), but I feel worried for new residents. They may not all have the time or inclination to undertake formal complaints or letter writing in order to see a dentist. By my count, the plans that you have put in place thus far will be completely full by the time they unpack their boxes!