Almost half of Britons have not seen an NHS dentist in the past two years.
That’s according to a report online at www.telegraph.co.uk today (Thursday).
It claims that more than 23.1 million people received no dental care on the NHS in the two years to last September, according to statistics obtained by the Tories.
This represents an increase of 4%, or 840,342 people, since the Government introduced the new contract in 2006.
The figures also showed that as the number of people routinely seeing a dentist has decreased, the number of hospital admissions for dental treatment has risen.
Last year almost 240,000 were admitted to wards, an increase of 6%, figures released by the NHS Information Centre showed.
The Government hoped the new contracts would give more patients the chance to register with an NHS dentist and encourage preventive care.
But it’s widely considered that the reforms have led to a worse service – many dentists have subsequently rejected NHS patients and are providing less complex treatment amid fears that their income will be affected and some have left the NHS to go private.
Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said: ‘We know that there are people out there who are pulling out their own teeth because they can’t find an NHS dentist.
‘These shocking figure are proof that Labour can’t negotiate a contract with NHS professionals.
‘Some patients have no option but to take their problems to hospital A&E, a service which is already under great pressure.’