Call now on0800 051 8069
According to recent research by the British Dental Association (BDA), and new figures published by the Liberal Democrats, more than 6.5 million children in England have not been seen by an NHS dentist for at least a year. Further, approximately …
According to recent research by the British Dental Association (BDA), and new figures published by the Liberal Democrats, more than 6.5 million children in England have not been seen by an NHS dentist for at least a year. Further, approximately 15 million appointments have not happened since the start of the COVID pandemic!
Why are we facing such difficulty accessing dental healthcare for our children?
Despite NHS treatment charges being largely free for younger children and cheaper than adults for older children, there are still many barriers which are preventing parents from accessing much needed dental healthcare for their children in England.
Ultimately, the main reason for this problem is that dental professionals are walking away from the NHS side of the profession due to issues with the ‘NHS Contract’. Essentially, NHS dentists are not incentivised to want to stay working in conditions where they are not paid enough to carry out complicated treatment which can be banded under the same fee as less complex work; they do not necessarily have adequate funding for dental services or equipment and they are struggling to receive help with the ever-growing demand of patients and waiting lists.
What will be the knock-on-effect for the children without access to NHS dental treatment?
Inevitably, the oral health of these children will sadly suffer. The level of decay is likely to increase and a larger gap in dental health will be seen between the wealthiest and poorest families in the country where some children can afford to be seen privately instead.
NHS England has set out the first stage of dental reform to the NHS Contract, which was published on 19 July 2022 and introduced in October 2022, and it covers initial reforms to address challenges associated with access to NHS dentistry and delivering care to higher needs patients. However, it is only an initial stage and it is likely that it will take time before we actually see any real change in practice.
These statistics are shocking and if the government does not complete further stages of reform of the NHS Contract for dental professionals soon, we will only see ever increasing and worsening figures to reflect how we are truly living in an NHS dental healthcare crisis.
If your child has suffered oral health problems, despite managing to access dental care, and you are concerned about potential negligence, please contact our team today to see if we can help.