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'Millions' hit by dentist shortage

16th January 2008

Citizens Advice has warned more than seven million people in the UK could be missing out on NHS dentistry.

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A study for the organisation claims lack of access has meant as many as one in six people have not been able to see an NHS dentist in the last two years.

Citizens Advice questioned 1,800 people in England and Wales about treatment since the new NHS dental contract was introduced in April 2006.

From the poll result findings, it estimated of the 7.4m who failed to see an NHS dentist, despite trying to, about 4.7m sought private treatment while 2.7m did not seek any treatment at all.

The survey also indicated there are regional variations with the south west and north west of England the worst affected.

Citizens Advice chief executive David Harker said people on low incomes were particularly affected as private treatment was not an option for them.

Lester Ellman, of the British Dental Association, said: “It is clear dentistry is not getting any better. The bottom line is that there are not enough dentists working in the NHS and that is because the government have failed to make it attractive enough.?

Health minister Ann Keen said dentistry was now a national priority for the health service and that the government remained fully committed to expanding services.

She said “We are working hard to improve access to NHS dentists.?

The minister pointed out that the budget for dentistry was being increased by 11% from this year.

 

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Comments

Malcolm Cole

Thursday 17th January 2008 @ 18:10

NHS dentistry is a complete mess. I know from personal experience, and talking to dentists. I now pay £25 a month privately.
The ensuing problem is that while the government remains in denial about dentistry, I find myself doubting everything they say about the NHS. Lets have some honesty in government-speak on this subject.

Tom Coulter

Tuesday 22nd January 2008 @ 14:57

Personal experience suggests that better quality and more affordable dentistry is available in Hungary.


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