"barbaric ! perhaps this word was derived..."

About: Newcastle Dental Hospital

What I liked

My daughters attendance at the hospital was distressing in every aspect .

What could be improved

Administration in terms of referral processing time .

No record on 'the system' even after 2 weeks of presenting myself as an emergency and examination and administration of drugs.

Attitude of dental staff was indifferent and lacking empathy.

I was sent home in agonising pain and told i would have to wait for months before the required surgeon would even see me for assessment let alone treatment which had been deemed urgent by my own dentist.

I was told to stop breastfeeding in order to take the prescribed drugs whist I waited for treatment.

The surgeon triaged me me as 'routine' without ever having seen me, based upon a letter from my dentist requesting urgent treatment.

Anything else?

I find it incomprehensible that modern medicine would leave a patient in such pain for so long. had my daughter presented at a&e with a similar level of pain and risk of infection and with the referral of a fellow practitioner in obvious need of emergency surgery would she have been sent away to wait for months without treatment.? why is dentistry so different.. She attended the hospital in agony upon examination it was clear that her jaw was being displaced by an erupting wisdom tooth and that she was at high risk of infection. she did in fact develop an abcess within a week of attending the hospital. However I was told it would be about 2 months before she could be seen again. My daughter told the dentist attending that her own dentist had sent an urgent referral request the dentist then said 'well you cant jump the queue by turning up here' which was not my daughters intention but after yet another agonising night and having been told by her own dentist he could do nothing she had come to the hospital for help, what she got was rebuke! on the 11th of may after many phone calls I was told that she would have to wait until July for assessment (not treatment) I can only presume that she will then join the 2 month waiting list for surgery? she would do anything to end this constant pain. and I fear that she will carry our her threat to try to extract the tooth herself and who could blame her after months of that level of pain. The impact this has had on my daughter and her children and my day to day life can not be imagined, She can not sleep, eat or think clearly and as a single mum with a disabled daughter and a breastfeeding baby this has been a nightmare, and despite numerous phone calls to everyone I can think of, we are no further forward. We have met with nothing but red tape and incompetence. Where is the Patient choice in that?

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Newcastle Dental Hospital

Thank you for posting your concerns and bringing these issues to our attention. We are very sorry to hear that your/ your daughter's experience in the dental hospital fell short of the standard expected.

Please let me assure you that the aim of the dental emergency clinic is to get patients out of pain. This can be achieved by a range of means including the prescription of antibiotics and other options including the extraction of teeth or initiation of root canal treatment. The dental emergency clinic is a busy teaching clinic. Patients are primarily seen by undergraduate students who are supervised by experienced clinicians. We can only see a limited number of patients each day.

Referrals received by the Dental Hospital either directly from dentists or hand delivered by a patient who has been to their dentist are graded by consultants in the specialty concerned to determine the clinical urgency of the referral. If having read the clinical information provided by the general dental practitioner the consultant feels that prompt assessment is required, due priority is given.

Unfortunately some patients may be given misleading advice by their general dental practitioner and may be under the impression that they will be seen and receive treatment when they present at the hospital. We do not have the capacity to achieve this, therefore patients are advised to seek advice and treatment from their general dental practitioner should they experience ongoing dental problems prior to being assessed on a consultant clinic.

I apologise if the staff in the dental hospital appeared indifferent to your situation. I will raise this concern with staff in the department concerned.

It is difficult to respond to your specific concerns without further information. If you would like us to investigate your specific case, please do not hesitate to contact Tim Baker, Directorate Manager or Paul Anderson, Patient Relations Manager on 0191 233 6161.

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