Almost half of NHS dental practices aren’t accepting new adult patients and only three-fifths are accepting new child patients.
That’s according to the NHS Choices website and an analysis by the BBC, which found details for 7,000 dental practices on the NHS Choices website, of which 2,500 had information about whether they were currently accepting new NHS patients.
The study found that 48% of NHS dental practices were not accepting new adult patients and 40% weren’t accepting new child patients.
‘The vast majority of dentists want to support the NHS, but we’re not miracle workers and a bankrupt dentist is no good to anyone,’ Dr Tony Kilcoyne, BDA PEC member, told the BBC.
‘The vast majority of dentists are self-employed so the Government doesn’t pay our staff or our overheads like a hospital.
‘If the system is funded at about half the level that it needs to be, then we can’t treat everyone.’
NHS dental appointments
NHS England has responded to the study claiming 95% of patients who needed a dental appointment could get one.
Public Health England says the NHS spends over £3 billion a year on providing dental care, which equates to around 3% of the total NHS budget in England.
The number of dentists undertaking NHS dental work has increased by 20% over the past 10 years culminating in 39 million dental treatments last year.
‘Improving oral health is a key priority for this Government, and in the last two years more than 22.2 million adults were seen by a dentist,’ a Department of Health spokesperson told the BBC.
‘We expect NHS England to ensure there are sufficient dental services to meet the needs of the local population.’