Isle of Wight dentist crisis remains unsolved

Nobody has come forward to provide a super surgery to fill the hole in the Isle of Wight’s dental provision.

In an effort to solve the Island’s dentistry issues — which sees thousands of residents waiting months for an appointment — a new dental practice was proposed.

In March, following a review of the Island’s current dental services, NHS England looked to create a contract for a dental practice nearly four times as big as one full-time surgery.

The bid to find someone to fill that contract has been unsuccessful, however.

In an update to the Isle of Wight Council’s policy and scrutiny committee for health and social care, to be heard at its meeting next week (June 6), the NHS said it had been commissioning services across Hampshire and the Island as a priority.

While work is now taking place across the Solent, the NHS says disappointingly, no one came forward to take on the proposed new contract for the Island.

The NHS says teams are working to understand why previously interested parties did not come forward and once those responses have been evaluated will look at alternative, flexible arrangements.

In July, the commissioning of dental services will move from NHS England to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board.

It has been hoped the move will allow for more local and bespoke arrangements to fix the Island’s problems.

A persistent issue remains, though, in the recruitment and retention of dentists to the Island.

The final version of the NHS’s review of dental need across the region, published earlier this month, said IW recruitment problems had led to the under-delivery of commissioned dental activity.

The NHS says the issues here are the most pronounced, with insufficient staffing levels to carry out those services.

The body says the recruitment and retention of dentists should be reviewed with all stakeholders and addressed in a systematic approach.


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