In 2019/20, Healthwatch Hillingdon undertook a mystery shopping review of the accessibility of dentistry services in Hillingdon, with volunteers carrying out 19 face to face visits at NHS funded dentists
The review found that of the 19 practices visited, none were fully accessible to disabled people or people with limited mobility. As a result, we made several recommendations:
- All NHS dental practices should undertake an audit of their disabled facilities and aids and ensure their information is regularly updated on the NHS website (www.nhs.uk). This will provide patients who may use the site to look for an accessible dentist with current information.
- All practices should work towards the full implementation of the Accessibility Information Standard to ensure patients have access to the communication support they need. This should include the provision of hearing loops, access to BSL interpreters and access to information in an alternative format. More information can be found at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo/.
- Where possible, new practices should be planned or adapted to ensure they are fully accessible for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues.