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Patients 'wait two years' for check-ups as dentists drop NHS work

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NHS dentistry is "hanging by a thread" with some patients facing two-year waits for check-ups, the British Dental Association has said.

Department of Health data analysed by the BBC shows almost 1,000 dentists working in 2,500 roles across England and Wales left the NHS last year.

One woman told how she had been in pain for more than a year while waiting to have root canal surgery.

NHS England said patients who most needed care should be prioritised.

Pamela Carr, 58, from Carlisle, has been looking for an NHS dentist to fix her root canal since November 2020.

"I've become used to the pain," she said. "I can't afford the private care, and I've tried every practice within 30 miles. I phoned NHS England too."

"They said there's nothing they can do because there are no NHS dentists. That was the end of the conversation."

Clinical Commissioning Group North Cumbria, which covers the area, lost 4% of its dentists in the last year. The worst-affected area was NHS Portsmouth CCG, which lost 26% of its NHS dentists over 12 months. At least 10% of NHS dentists were lost in 28 other English CCGs.

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Source: BBC News, 19 January 2022

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