9/10 NHS dental practices in England closed to new routine patients

No New Patient Appointments in England Due to Mass Exodus

  • The lowest number of dentists for a decade
  • Patients struggle to get treatment
  • Patients unable to get on NHS dentist lists at all
  • 20% fewer patients have been seen in London since 2019

Up to 2,000 dentists have left the NHS, leaving around 4 million people without access to NHS care.

And with people struggling to get the dental treatment they need, as and when they need it, this fiasco has become a hugely worrying issue.

What’s happening?

Some dentists have shut their doors for good, or others have converted to private dentistry, with some dentists up to their NHS capacity and asking patients to pay private fees instead.

Information obtained by the Times from the Association of Dental Groups after a freedom of information request has shown that dentists providing NHS care in England decreased by 9.22% from 2020 to January 2022.

In an interview with the Times, Shawn Charlwood, Chairman of the British Dental Associations General Dental Practice Committee, commended: “Dentists do not see a future in the NHS, with a broken contract pushing out talent every day. We need to halt an exodus that’s already in motion. Millions are going without the care they need, and quick fixes are no substitute for real reform and fair funding.”

If statistics were not shocking enough, an ADG report shows that an area in North Lincolnshire now only has 32 dentists per 100,000 people.

emergency dental photo

NHS stats

  • In October, the CQC, in the annual ‘State of health care and social care report, also highlighted problems that children and young people had in accessing routine dental care during the pandemic.
  • Data from NHS Digital shows that the number of appointments for children has fallen by 44% in
    the last year.
  • The NHS.UK website suggests that swathes of the country are now dental deserts, with seven of the NHS’s 42 new sub-regions, known as Integrated Care Systems, reporting that they have no practice taking
    on new adult NHS patients.
  • There is a 44% reduction in adult patients compared to stats in 2019 in the South East of England.
  • Only 21% of practices in London were accepting adult patients in 2021, compared to 1% in the South West.

Healthwatch England Report December 2021 reported the above statistics.

4 million people are estimated to be without access to NHS care

For the first time in over a decade, the NHS has the smallest number of dentists, according to the ADG.

The problem has grown so out of control that some patients in particular areas of the country are being forced to wait up to three years for an appointment, leading only one in three people to be satisfied with their dental services.

The outcome

You’ll likely be forced to go private. No emergency appointments are available.

After exhausting every option locally, many patients are being pushed into private dental surgeries to have their dental problems resolved.

The biggest problem now? Not being able to find a dentist accepting any NHS-funded work, citing issues with the current UK dental contract.

teeth inspection photo

Will it recover?

A Healthwatch England Report at the end of last year commented that the issue had exploded in the previous 18 months, with some people travelling across the country for an appointment.

The current problems we’re seeing in today’s dentistry were meant to be addressed over a decade ago and, to this day, still receive a lower budget than any other department. However, no additional money was marked available for dental care in the last Spending Review.

What you can do in the meantime

We have been in private practice here at the Perfect Smile for over two decades. We have always offered a private general dentistry service, and in this time of severe crisis, we have made more appointments available.

While going private might be out of the question for some, we encourage you to come to visit us if you are in pain or are suffering. There are ways we can make your appointment more affordable, whether that’s breaking it up with interest-free monthly payments or a dental payment plan. View our fees.

Talk to us.