A Citizens Advice survey in England and Wales has revealed that 4\.7 million people have turned to private treatment, with 2\.7m going without any treatment at all, since the 2006 NHS dental contract.
Since the government changed its contract, many dentists have stopped offering state-funded services, saying the contract required them to increase their workloads while limiting their earnings.
Responding to the survey, the British Dental Association (BDA) has warned that primary care trusts and dentists must be properly supported if the government is serious about improving access for patients.
Susie Sanderson, Chair of the BDA’s Executive Board, said, ‘This data highlights once again the significant number of people who would like to access NHS dentistry but are unable to do so. It is clear that the new dental contract has, so far, not achieved the stated aim of improving access to NHS care.
‘The government recently announced a much-needed 11% boost in funding for NHS dentistry and set itself the target of increasing the number of patients able to access the service. To ensure this funding makes a real difference, it’s vital that primary care trusts engage positively with dentists and also have the expertise and support required to meet the dental needs of their local communities.’