Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA’s PEC, has labelled homeless people ‘no-hopers’ and blames them for missing NHS targets.
He made the remarks in an email that Labour MP, Stella Creasy, was mistakenly copied into.
The email was then later leaked to the Guardian.
‘These are difficult patients who rarely complete a course of treatment and attend irregularly, if at all,’ Mr Armstrong said in the email.
‘If we took in all the no-hopers who ring us…I suspect we’d miss our targets by a country mile.’
After Ms Crease received the email she challenged Mr Armstrong on his remarks, but he stood by them.
He claims the BDA has been fighting for a decade to direct resources to those most in need without fear of financial penalties.
He said many vulnerable patients require appointments that are ‘extremely time consuming’, describing it as ‘frankly exhausting’ to treat them all.
‘To say I was shocked to hear any group of patients be described as “no-hopers”, let alone it be acceptable to restrict their service access as a result, is an understatement,’ Ms Crease told the Guardian.
‘Homeless people are some of the most vulnerable residents in our communities and getting them registered so they can have checkups to prevent poor dental care is vital to protecting their health.’
Mr Armstrong has since described his language as ‘inappropriate’, blaming a failing dental contract.
He believes the NHS dental contract is punishing dentists who spend a lot of time with the most vulnerable patients.
‘I regret the intemperate wording I used in my exchange with Stella Creasy,’ he said.
‘The language was inappropriate but born of the frustration that all NHS dentists in England feel working under a contract that’s decisively failed both patients and practitioners.’
You may also be interested in: