Complaints about poor NHS dental services rise 66% in five years
“Exclusive: Standard of care, exorbitant fees and difficulty getting treatment among 1,982 issues reported in 2022-23
Record numbers of patients are complaining to the NHS Ombudsman about poor care, exorbitant fees and difficulty getting treatment from NHS dental services in England.
Mistakes by dentists mean some patients are being left in agony – in some cases unable to eat – while others are being landed with huge bills for work on their teeth.
“Poor dental care leaves patients frustrated, in pain and out of pocket,” said Rob Behrens, the parliamentary and health service ombudsman.
The number of complaints he receives every year about NHS dental services has jumped from 1,193 in 2017-18 to 1,982 in 2022-23 – a rise of 66%.
Behrens also disclosed that the proportion of complaints he upholds about NHS dentistry after an investigation has increased from 42% to 78% over the same period. That 78% figure for upheld complaints about dental services is “significantly more” than for any other area of NHS care, such as GP, hospital or mental health care, where the overall average is 60%, he said.
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