Dental nightmare

Data shows that the South West is one of the worst regions in the country for NHS dentists and B&NES is one of the worst hit areas.

The data – revealed in a parliamentary question – shows the number of dentists undertaking National Health Service activity in each clinical commissioning group (CCG) in England in 2020/21. The South West is one of the worst areas for NHS dentistry with just four dentists undertaking NHS dentistry per 10,000 people.

Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG have the lowest number of NHS dentists, with Somerset CCG having the highest number. This still languishes at just six per 10,000 people. The data also shows that just 23,733 dentists are undertaking NHS activity across England. 

Liberal Democrat MP for Bath Wera Hobhouse commented: 

“Our NHS dental system is at breaking point. The Conservatives are failing people across the South West. It is no wonder that people are turning to DIY dentistry. 

“These figures lay bare the Conservative’s complete failure to look after people’s health. They talk a good game on the NHS but they are leaving so many people without access to dentists. This is damaging their health and increasing pressure in the long run. 

“The Conservatives are asleep at the wheel when it comes to the crisis in NHS dentistry. To be clear, this crisis is not the fault of dentists. They work extremely hard and have to operate within the system that exists. But that system is broken and only the Government can fix it. 

“The Government needs to urgently review the system which is driving dentists away from performing NHS activity. The lack of NHS dentists across the country is a real crisis. As well as being unable to sort out dental pain in the short-term, people are storing up problems for the future without regular checkups. People across the South West are being let down by the Conservatives who are taking them for granted.” 

For your further information:

  1. The research is from a Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health and Social Care. 
  2. You can access the full data set here 
  3. The population estimates for Clinical Commissioning Group areas are here
  4. Across England, just 23,733 dentists are performing NHS activity.

1 Comment

  1. I looked into this last year when my NHS dentist in Bath stopped treating their patients under the NHS. The government says that people are entitled to dental treatment on the NHS, but no dentist in the region is taking on NHS work. The contradiction is stark. Whatever the public relations take is, when you need dentistry on a low income you won’t get it. The dentist says the requirements of the government are unreasonable: NHS treatment doesn’t pay. I fear that generations of improvements in oral health across the population are rapidly being undone. Emergency treatment is now beyond the pocket of ordinary working people, and certainly those on benefits. My hope is that patients will pursue their ‘right to NHS dentistry’ despite having to pay privately. MPs need to hear specific cases so that they can prove the health detriments (such as oral cancers) that our country no longer considers a priority.

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