A letter written and signed by 400 dentists has warned of the “Third World” dental care in England. Writing to The Telegraph newspaper, the dentists have criticised “falling standards” in NHS dentistry in parts of England, and called the current system “unfit for purpose”.
They have also called for “…new ministers to be fully open and transparent about existing limitations,” and have called the situation that “children aged under 10 in England are still more likely to be treated in hospital for rotten teeth than for any other medical reason.” a “national disgrace”.
Citing the volunteer work of dental charity Dentaid in West Yorkshire, the letter say that “its role serves to demonstrate the lack of a proper national dental service.”
An NHS England spokeswoman said: “These claims are wrong – more patients are getting the dental care they need, and 93% of people got an NHS dental appointment when they wanted one in the last 24 months.”
However, the letter highlights the uphill struggle NHS dentists have with tackling dental problems. A recent survey has shown that almost half of 8-year-olds and a third of 5-year-olds have decay in their milk teeth. A survey undertaken every 10 years by The Children’s Dental Health Survey for England, Wales and Northern Ireland also found that 46% of 15-year-olds had signs of decay in their teeth.
Letter: The NHS dental health system is unfit for purpose [via The Telegraph]