NHS faces ‘exodus’ of dentists

Long-term problems exacerbated by Covid

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Two northern MPs have added their voice to calls for more funding for dental care amid fears that it is becoming increasingly difficult for adults and children to find
an NHS dentist who will treat them.

The lack of access to dental care, which has been a concern for more than 15 years in some areas, has worsened during the pandemic, with dentists exiting the profession in large numbers, leaving it “hanging by a thread”, according to a British Dental Association (BDA) leader.

According to Healthwatch, the statutory body that represents patients, lack of access to NHS dentistry has “exploded as an issue for people over the last 18 months”. Patients needing urgent care are left in “excruciating pain” – with one reporting they had pulled out their own tooth – and many are forced to go private.

Using NHS Digital data, last December Healthwatch said only 11 per cent of the more than 5,000 dental practices in England were accepting new adult NHS patients, and only 17 per cent took on new patients.

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