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NHS dentistry as we know it 'gone for good'

The traditional model of NHS dentistry is gone for good, experts are warning.

The Nuffield Trust think tank said the service had been cut back so much it was now at the most perilous position in its 75-year history in England.

It said restoring services would probably need an unrealistic amount of money and called for radical reform, suggesting NHS support may need to be completely scaled back for some adults.

The Nuffield Trust said funding for NHS dentistry had suffered huge cuts in recent years. Some £3.1bn was spent in 2021-22 - a drop of £525m since 2014-15 once inflation is taken into account.

It said the number of treatments being done each year was now six million lower than it was before the pandemic.

The Nuffield Trust said tough policy choices needed to be made, suggesting one option could be to start charging adults for the full cost of treatment beyond emergency work and check-ups.

Shawn Charlwood, chairman of the British Dental Association's general dental practice committee, said the report "reads like the last rites for NHS dentistry" and that "patients and this profession deserve some honesty here".

He added: "The government say NHS dentistry should be accessible for all who need it.

"The plain facts are we're not seeing any evidence of the reforms or the resources to realise that ambition."

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Source: BBC News, 19 December 2023


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