A report has revealed Lancaster residents are among the worst hit when trying to register for an NHS dentist.
The Your Dentist, Your Say report, published by Healthwatch Lancashire, shows one in four people in Lancaster are not registered with an NHS or private dental practice.
The report shows across Lancashire 63 percent of people said they are registered with a NHS dentist, 19 percent said they are registered with a private dentist whilst 18 percent said they were not registered.
A Heysham councillor is urging residents to write to their MP to demand more NHS dentists.
Councillor Colin Hartley has said the report, which is being used by NHS England to understand the demand for dental care in Lancashire, is “worrying.”
Coun Hartley said: “No doubt the availability of NHS dentists is a factor; in turn the dental health of the nation must be suffering.
“And it’s not just dental health.
“Regular check-ups enable dentists to identify early signs of mouth cancers and refer patients on for treatment. Early identification and treatment is more likely to result in successful outcomes.”
The survey, based on the findings from a research study with more than 1,000 residents, aims to help understand how people would like to register for NHS dental treatment.
Healthwatch Lancashire heard from Nicola in Lancaster who said: “I’ve kept my dentist in Morecambe because there are so few NHS dentists. My children go there, she knows my fear of needles and I’m really happy with the service.”
NHS England confirmed the findings have already been used to change the opening times of a new practice in Lancaster.
To read the full report visit www.healthwatchlancashire.co.uk/reports.