Nine in 10 practices in England not accepting new practices, according to new research.
An investigation by The Times discovered that 86% of practices currently providing information are not accepting new adult patients, or are only accepting them after referral from another dentist.
More than half of council areas in England have no dentists that are taking on new adult patients. Additionally, just under a third have no dentists accepting children.
Full blown crisis
Eddie Crouch, chair of the BDA, believes the figures reflect the reality of the current dental landscape.
‘What we are seeing is sadly just the reality on the frontline in NHS dentistry,’ he said. ‘A service already beaten down by a decade of cuts and failed contracts, pushed into full blown crisis by the Covid pandemic.
‘The media are seeing what officials haven’t quite grasped. That dentistry isn’t an optional extra, but a service that tens of millions depend on. For our part we are not letting any opportunity pass to spell out the facts, and push for real reform.’
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This comes as two thirds of dental professionals say their mental health worsened during the pandemic.
According to FMC’s Dentistry Census, many revealed that they felt ‘nervous’, ‘depressed’ and ‘insecure’ as a result of working within dentistry.
Almost one in four (23%) revealed they have sought help for their mental health. Additionally, a worrying 14% had contemplated suicide.
Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee, added: ‘Demoralised dentists are calling it quits as millions go without the care they need. This government seems asleep at the wheel.
‘Pledges to “level up NHS dentistry” are coming thick and fast. But with no commitments to deliver adequate funding or needed reform.
‘Patients across England need urgent action now, not empty slogans.’
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