The Dental Practitioners Association (DPA) has accused Chief Dental Officer Barry Cockcroft of being ‘in denial’ over the damning figures revealing that seven million patients have not seen an NHS dentist in almost two years.
Lack of access to the NHS was top of the list in the poll of 1800 people in England and Wales in the survey carried out by the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme Derek Watson, Chief Executive Officer of the DPA said: ‘The CAB figures reflect the feedback we are getting back from our members and mirrors a larger survey by the Patient and Public Information Forums.’
He went on to say that he – and other dentists – felt that Mr Cockcroft was ‘in denial a bit’ over the figures.
‘There is a massive gap in the terms and conditions between working on the NHS and privately and most dentists are choosing not to work on the NHS because it represents a significant business risk,’ he said.
‘Dentists are not like doctors, they have to buy their own premises and materials. If you are going to work on the NHS and borrow money over five or 10 years for a practice and you have a one-year contract on the NHS which may or may not be renewed and the prospect in April 2009 of a further deterioration… you are going to avoid that sort of work.’