NHS dentists - People having to drive hundreds of miles 'unacceptable'

Comment written by Ivan Annibal, Director of Operations at The National Centre for Rural Health & Care

This story bears out the huge challenge of accessing dental care across the UK but most acutely from my perspective in rural settings it tells us.

The pain and distress of not being able to see an NHS dentist are "totally unacceptable", an inquiry has told the government.

A review was launched after a BBC investigation found nine in 10 NHS dental practices across the UK were not accepting new adult patients.

Some people drove hundreds of miles for treatment or even resorted to pulling out their own teeth, the BBC found.

The government says it invests more than £3bn a year in dentistry.

But the damning report, by the Commons' Health and Social Care Committee, says more needs to be done, and quickly.

Dental reforms - recommended to the government more than 15 years ago - have still not been implemented, it says.

Last year's BBC's investigation found eight in 10 NHS practices were not taking on children.

Between May and July 2022, BBC News contacted nearly 7,000 NHS practices - believed to be almost all those offering general treatment to the public.

In a third of the UK's more than 200 council areas, the BBC found no dentists taking on adult NHS patients.

Researchers could also not find a single practice accepting new adult patients in Lancashire, Norfolk, Devon or Leeds.

Full article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-66167563


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