Adults in England unable to get an NHS dental appointment

Adults in England unable to get an NHS dental appointmentAround 1.45 million adults across England cannot get an NHS dental appointment, new analysis from the BBC shows.

A further 2 million adults assume they cannot get an NHS dental appointment where they live.

And 0.73 million adults cannot access dental care because it is too expensive.

‘Underfunding, failed contracts and recruitment problems are creating a perfect storm for patients,’ Dave Cottam, chair of the British Dental Association, said.

‘These access problems are no longer affecting a few “hotspots”.

‘But are now the reality for millions across every English region.

‘The public is entitled to access care, but the system is stacked against them.

‘They face practices struggling to fill vacancies, NHS charges designed to discourage attendance, while our contracts cap patient numbers.

‘Those losing out are the patients who need us most.

‘The next government owes it to them to ensure this service has a future.’

Crisis in NHS dentistry

The BDA has told the BBC access problems are down to difficulties in filling NHS dentist posts.

It claims there’s been a 29% fall in funding per person over the last seven years with inflation taken into account.

Yasmin Qureshi MP wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock urging for action on NHS dentistry earlier this year.

‘Unless the system is appropriately funded and commissioned,’ Ms Qureshi said in her letter.

‘Patients in every corner of England will share the problems facing patients in constituencies like ours soon.

‘In order to ensure that everyone has access to decent dental care, it is vital that we recognise and address this impending crisis in NHS dentistry.’

Shortage of NHS dental appointments

Peterborough councillors have already voiced concerns over the shortage of NHS dentists accepting new patients.

NHS England could only name two practices accepting new patients in the Peterborough area.

Patients have to commute across the city, look outside Peterborough or turn to private treatment.

‘We were concerned to hear about the lack of NHS dental practices in Peterborough taking on new patients,’ Councillor Kim Aitken, chair of Peterborough City Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, told Peterborough Today.

‘Dental practices can open and close their patient lists at any time without having to notify NHS England.

‘The Peterborough Access Centre is overloaded and at times has had no alternative but to turn people away.

‘Representatives of NHS England and NHS Improvement came to our committee and put forward a number of recommendations.

‘As a committee we will continue to review the outcomes of those recommendations.’

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