Dentist waiting lists remain a popular, seemingly common sense idea among patients. However very few NHS dentists operate a waiting list.
Waiting lists are time intensive and so cost money.
Dental practices would have to spend time collecting contact information and storing it safely complying with GDPR. Practices accepting new patients would then have to spend resources contacting patients from the waiting list. These invested resources would be wasted in many cases where patients have already registered at another practice during the wait.
NHS dentists are not allowed to charge patients to run waiting lists.
NHS Dental contracts are designed to operate within extremely tight and fixed budgets. There simply aren’t the resources in the NHS dental budget to offer such a luxury “free” service. NHS contracts prevent dentists from charging patients to run waiting lists.
Patients are expected to check if practices are taking on new patients themselves.
Patients can ask local practices directly or check each practice on the NHS website. This process is seemingly cheaper for the NHS to run. The downside is that patients have to spend a lot of time finding a practice they can register with. On top of this, dental practices not accepting new patients will waste some resources fielding calls and questions from patients trying to register.