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Can your dentist see you now?

Concerns have risen across the country about shortages of NHS dentistry and people’s dental health. We now regularly hear talk of dental deserts in England and Wales where previously finding a dentist was just a simple registration phone call.   Calls have been made for change within the industry, none more so than in Barrow in Lancashire.

A recent article published by the BBC spoke to a local MP from Barrow. Mr Fell who voiced the concerns of his constituents in the hope that something within the industry changes. He said his constituents included seven-year-olds who had never seen a dentist and pregnant women who could not get an appointment. This has left people to self-diagnose, medicate, and even perform their dental treatment at home. Mr. Fell told the Government, dental practices are unable to recruit dentists in rural, isolated areas such as Barrow. It was raised that dentists are more put off practicing NHS treatment in more deprived areas, where the work is more complex and more expensive to perform. The Government’s set to change the dentist contract to be deemed more attractive and easier for oversea dentists to practice in the UK.[1]

Bupa has recently announced that they are to shut 85 dental practices within the UK amid the national shortage in the industry. This will affect over 1200 staff and even more patients that use Bupa for their dental health. Since the pandemic, Bupa, which provides both private and NHS dental care revealed inflation, higher energy prices, and the increasing cost to run patient services are a huge factor in the reduction of their service.[2]  The closure of the BUPA practices will affect not only NHS but also private patients further adding to the dental woes of the population.

Have you struggled to register at a local dentist whether private or NHS?  Have the costs of private dental treatment been off putting or simply out of reach? A growing number of the population simply cant afford to visit a private dentist, and have no local NHS dentists to register at, leaving them to perform their own DIY dentistry at home.