And it seems that there are big problems with supply and demand of NHS dental services throughout the UK. Results of a combined BBC and BDA (British Dental Association) survey has discovered that the industry is at ‘tipping point’.
Identifying and contacting 8533 practising dentists (believed to hold NHS contracts) across the UK, the investigation has discovered that 80% of practices surveyed are not accepting any more children under the age of 16. A worrying statistic for the future generation, who are already reeling from the consequences of the Covid lockdown, when over 9 million children’s appointments were missed.
Problems date back to NHS contracts in 2006, which are currently being reviewed, in order to redress the problem.
However, realistically speaking there’s no ‘quick fix’. An overall long-term programme, extra funding and a recruitment drive for additional dental professionals across the board is needed – not just to replace the 3000 dentists who have moved away from the NHS since 2020, but to cope with increased demands on their services.
With no national dental care prevention programme in place and lack of opportunities to access medical professionals, it’s even more important that we help ourselves as much as possible and especially little ones who are relying on us to give them the best dental start, by setting the best example, offering guidance and routine.
This is why we started our SmileStones Club which offers timely advice for each stage of a child’s dental journey. Friendly and impartial – we’re certainly not judgemental – we’re here and happy to help, and delighted that caregivers want to look after children’s teeth and ‘make a difference’.
If you want to learn more about the survey, you can access the programme Disappearing Dentists here on BBC iplayer. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0crcrdg