Dental patients are still suffering from the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, as parts of England are left with only one NHS dentist for thousands of people.
In North Lincolnshire, there were just 54 NHS dentists – equivalent to one for every 3,199 people – at the end of March, NHS Digital figures show. This means every NHS dentist in the area would have to work nine-hour days every working day of the year without holidays for each resident to receive one annual checkup on the NHS.
Across England, 24,272 dentists treated some NHS patients in the year to 31 March – up 2.3% from the previous year, broadly in keeping with the general population increase in the same period, but lower than pre-pandemic figures for the three previous years.
The chair of the British Dental Association, Eddie Crouch, said the service was “on its last legs” and the figures underlined the need for radical and urgent change. “The government will be fooling itself and millions of patients if it attempts to put a gloss on these figures,” said Crouch. “NHS dentistry is light years away from where it needs to be. Unless ministers step up and deliver much-needed reform and decent funding, this will remain the new normal.”
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Source: The Guardian (25 August 2022)