The Isle of Wight's dental crisis is getting worse day by day was the warning from a health watchdog.

It comes as pressures increase and health officials have been urged to act now and not wait months to find a solution.

An update and complaints were heard last night (Monday) at the Isle of Wight Council's health and social care scrutiny committee on the state of the Island's dentistry.

It follows the change from national oversight provided by NHS England to a more localised approach by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB).

Jo York, the ICB's interim dentistry lead said she understood the Island's issues but there were issues across the country the NHS England team were having to deal with.

The transition was going well, Ms York said, and they have been able to build relationships with dental practices as well as using local resources to answer the Island's needs.

However, she recognised the Island had significant challenges which had been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic including access to dentists and retention and recruitment of workforce.

A previous attempt to recruit to a new, bigger Island dental practice was unsuccessful earlier this year so now, Ms York said, the ICB was looking to do something different.

She said it was a case of trying to make national changes as the main dentistry contract restricts new ways forward.

A solution, however, may take at least six to nine months should it need to be procured but if the ICB could do something more innovative and work with local dentists it could be quicker.

Joanna Smith, manager of watchdog organisation Healthwatch Isle of Wight, said the ICB needed to act urgently as the situation was getting worse for Islanders day by day.

She said: "Some Islanders cannot wait six to nine months when they have been waiting years.

"There is a huge backlog of need, some people have never been able to access a dentist."

Cllr John Nicholson, chair of the committee, said the NHS commissioners had managed to make it an appalling mess.

It was resolved the committee would ask MP Bob Seely to speak to the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, requesting he look into the roles of those responsible in the NHS for the planning, provision and delivering of dental services, due to the 'complete collapse of the existing structure' for patients and dentists under their tenure.