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NHS dental care 'too hard to find'

Patients are struggling to find NHS dental care, according to a consumer watchdog.

Healthwatch England said "confusing and inaccurate" information about where to access free care means some are travelling up to 40 miles to find a NHS provider, while others become so frustrated by their search for a health service dentist that they end up paying for private treatment.

The watchdog also warned that some patients are being "deregistered" from NHS dentists for missing appointments, even if they have a valid reason.

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Search for an NHS dentist 'degrading'

Trying to find NHS dental care was "degrading", a pensioner has told a consumer watchdog.

The patient spoke to Healthwatch Kirklees and said: "I'm a 65 year old pensioner, I called up my dentist for new dentures. They advised me to call them every month to check if they were taking NHS patients...It's degrading ringing up lots of people."

Healthwatch England, a national body representing the 152 regional Healthwatch branches, has warned that many patients struggle to find NHS dental care.

I'm a 65 year old pensioner, I called up my dentist for new dentures. They advised me to call them every month to check if they were taking NHS patients, but they were only taking on private patients.

In the end I had to go private and pay £760 for new dentures and I am on pension credits. It's degrading ringing up lots of people, I shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get new dentures.

– Dental patient in Kirklees, west Yorkshire

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