Dental woes

The number of people who’ve seen an NHS dentist in Bath has plummeted in recent years, new figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

Only 3 in 10 of adults in Bath were able to secure an appointment with an NHS dentist in the past two years. This is down from 50% who saw an NHS dentist in the two years up to 2018.

The Lib-Dems say that, in a similarly desperate situation, only 6 in 10 children in Bath have been able to see a dentist in the last 12 months, despite the NHS recommending under-18s see a dentist at least once a year. This is down from 80% who had seen an NHS dentist in the year to 2018.

The stark figures were compiled by the House of Commons Library following a request by the Liberal Democrats but, before we go any further, l think we should consider the fact that fewer dental practices are now offering an NHS!

Polling by the LIB Dems has found that one in five (21%) adults, unable to see a dentist, have carried out DIY dentistry in a desperate attempt to relieve their pain.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to set out an NHS winter rescue plan this week as soon as Parliament returns, to provide urgent help to those living in dental agony. This would also include immediate action to reduce dangerously long ambulance waiting times and speed up access to healthcare for the almost seven million people stuck on NHS waiting lists.

Wera Hobhouse MP commented:

“Far too many people in Bath are struggling to see an NHS dentist and get the affordable dental healthcare they need.

“We’ve reached a breaking point in this crisis. NHS dentist appointments are becoming harder to get than ever and some practices are shutting their doors to NHS patients altogether, but the government is missing in action.

“As the cost of living catastrophe continues to hit households hard, private dentistry is not a feasible alternative for the many people living in pain. 

“It’s a national scandal that people in our community are desperately turning to dangerous DIY dentistry because our public health services have been run into the ground by this Conservative government. 

“The Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to fund an NHS winter rescue package to improve access to NHS dental appointments, reduce ambulance waiting times and speed up treatment for those who need it.

Over and above this Wera, Government should be looking at offering enough incentives to dentists to continue to see NHS patients.