Accessing dentistry services during COVID-19

Our report looks at the current dental situation in Sutton as residents told us they struggled to access local NHS dental care.


Healthwatch Sutton has seen an increase in the amount of enquiries from residents about how they can access local dentistry services. 

In response to this, we contacted all 36 dental practices in and around the London Borough of Sutton to find out what practices were taking on new patients, and average waiting times for accessing routine and emergency appointments. 

We managed to speak to 30 dental practices between 16th June and 19th July 2021. 

What we found

  • 12 out of the 30 dental practices are taking on NHS patients. 
  • 12 out of the 30 dental practices are taking on NHS patients for emergencies. 
  • 23 out of the 30 dental practices are taking on children as NHS patients. However, at of these practices, children can only be registered if their parents and/or siblings are already registered with the practice. 
  • The waiting time for urgent care varies widely from 2 hours to 2 months. 
  • The waiting time for routine care varies widely from week to 6 months

Next steps

We will use our findings to inform our signposting work and help local people to get the support they need.

We have also shared our findings with our information and advice service provided by Citizens Advice Sutton (via Advice Link Partnership Sutton, ALPS) to inform their signposting. 

We also would like to find out more about the experiences of residents accessing dental services and are looking into doing a more in-depth project. 

Thank you 

We would like to thank all of the dental practices who took the time to answer our questions. 

Read the report

If you need this report in an alternative format, please get in touch. 

020 8641 9540

Accessing dentistry services during COVID-19

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