The British Dental Association (BDA) has said the Dental Recovery Plan “won’t offer hope to millions struggling to access care”, after 12million people were unable to book an appointment last year
Dentists will be offered cash incentives to relocate to areas with workforce shortages, but do YOU think the Government is doing enough to tackle Britain’s dentistry crisis?
Under the plans announced today, NHS dentists will be handed “new patient” payments of between £15 and £50, to treat the one million Brits who have not seen a dentist in two years or more. It has been claimed that the £200million plan could see 2.5million extra appointments offered over the next year, but experts warn the figure is not enough to restore the cripping dental crisis.
The British Dental Association (BDA) said the proposals “won’t halt the exodus from the workforce or offer hope to millions struggling to access care”, while the Nuffield Trust explained the NHS’s dental service is at its “most perilous point in its 75-year history”.
The Dental Recovery Plan will see new parents given advice on looking after their baby’s milk teeth, while teams will be sent into schools to teach children about oral hygiene. What’s more, dental vans will be deployed to rural areas, and dentists will be offered £20,000 over three years to move to places where there are shortages.
This comes as one in four adults in England were unable to get dental care last year – equivalent to more than 12million people. To make matters worse, around 90 percent of dental practices are no longer accepting new NHS adult patients, forcing people to turn to DIY dentistry.
This week, police were called to manage hundreds of people lined up outside a dentist in Bristol, desperate to secure a place at the newly-opened NHS practice. Eddie Crouch, chair of the BDA, said that it was “completely shocking” that people had to queue on the streets in order to get dental access.
“We’ve seen a decade of neglect with the NHS dental service. We believe it is one area of the NHS which has seen a net reduction of around £1 billion than ten years ago,” he added. Labour’s Wes Streeting said: “After 14 years of Conservative neglect, patients are desperately queuing around the block to see a dentist, literally pulling their own teeth out, and tooth decay is the number one reason for 6 to 10-year-olds being admitted to hospital.
“The Conservatives are only promising to do something about it now there’s an election coming… It will be left to the next Labour government to rescue NHS dentistry and get patients seen on time once again.” The Mirror has joined forces with the BDA to launch a petition on the 38 Degrees website calling on the PM to “save NHS dentistry and make it fit for the 21st century”.
It is demanding that the Government properly funds NHS dentistry, so everyone who needs care can secure it. Following the latest news, we want to know if YOU think the Tories are doing enough to tackle Britain’s dental crisis. Vote in our poll HERE to have your say.
The Mirror will also be discussing the topic with you in the comments section below and you can join in! All you have to do is sign up, submit your comment, register your details and then you can take part.
Save NHS Dentistry petition
Sign our petition to save NHS dentistry and make it fit for the 21st century
Our 3 demands
Everyone should have access to an NHS dentist
More than 12 million people were unable to access NHS dental care last year – more than 1 in 4 adults in England. At the same time 90% of dental practices are no longer accepting new NHS adult patients. Data from the House of Commons Library showed 40% of children didn’t have their recommended annual check-up last year.
Restore funding for dental services and recruit more NHS dentists
The UK spends the smallest proportion of its heath budget on dental care of any European nation. Government spending on dental services in England was cut by a quarter in real terms between 2010 and 2020. The number of NHS dentists is down by more than 500 to 24,151 since the pandemic.
Change the contracts
A Parliamentary report by the Health Select Committee has branded the current NHS dentists’ contracts as “not fit for purpose” and described the state of the service as “unacceptable in the 21st century”. The system effectively sets quotas on the maximum number of NHS patients a dentist can see as it caps the number of procedures they can perform each year. Dentists also get paid the same for delivering three or 20 fillings, often leaving them out of pocket. The system should be changed so it enables dentists to treat on the basis of patient need.
Have you had to resort to drastic measures because you couldn’t access an NHS dentist? Are you a parent struggling to get an appointment for a child? Email [email protected] or call 0800 282591