Researchers found that 91% of NHS practices in England – 4,933 out of 5,416 – were not accepting new adult patients. In Wales, that figure rose to 93% – the worst accessibility rate in the UK. The figure was 90% in Northern Ireland and 82% in Scotland.
Meanwhile, in a third of the UK’s 200-plus council areas, 79% of NHS practices were not taking on those under 16. One in 10 local authorities had no practices taking on under-16s for NHS treatment. Children in full-time education are entitled to completely free care on the health service.
According to the BDA, it would take an additional £880m a year to restore funding to 2010 levels. As well as ‘savage cuts’ to funding, the BDA is partly blaming a discredited NHS contract in England for the issues, and the fact that thousands of NHS dentists have left the service since lockdowns began.
Shawn Charlwood, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said: ‘NHS dentistry is at a tipping point. Nothing we’ve heard from government to date gives us any confidence this service has a future. Without real reform and fair funding NHS dentistry will die, and our patients will pay the price.’
Image credit | Alamy