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Twin crisis of access and affordability calls for a radical rethink of NHS dentistry

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New data indicates the dental crisis shows no signs of slowing, with four in five people (80%) struggling to access timely care during the last COVID-19 lockdown.

Access to NHS dental care continues to be a problem for people across England, with Healthwatch recording a 22% rise in calls and complaints about dentistry between January and March 2021.   

A review of 1,375 people’s experiences shared with Healthwatch found a lack of consistency across the country when it comes to accessing a dental appointment. Whilst some people were asked to wait an unreasonable time of up to three years for an NHS appointment, those able to afford private care could get an appointment within a week. 

Healthwatch are calling for greater ambition and urgency from NHS dental reform plans to create more equitable and affordable dental care. 

Imelda Redmond CBE, National Director of Healthwatch England, said: “The twin crisis of access and affordability hitting NHS dentistry means many people are not able to access timely care – and the poorest are hardest hit. Those human stories show that oral health is a social justice and equity issue."

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Source: Healthwatch, 24 May 2021

 

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