Article Review: Patients struggling to get NHS dental care across England, says watchdog

12.02.21 03:18 PM By Jasmine Razvi

Dentist and Patient Advocates say that dentistry is facing a crisis fuelled by the pandemic that will likely lead to an increase in Oral Cancer in the coming months and years.


  • People needing urgent care are struggling to find NHS Treatments in all parts of England according to Healthwatch.
  • Surgeries “are being incentivised not to deal with most serious cases” and this has resulted in EU dentists leaving the UK.
  • 9 out of 10 calls to Healthwatch Cumbria are about trying to find an NHS dentist.
  • Last year the number of calls and complaints increased by 452%
  • As a reference before COVID 1 in 10 could not access dental services with hotspots in Hull and SW England, now it is a big problem everywhere.
  • A patient with a front tooth that came loose paid £110 for a temporary crown but was told the replacement would cost 2K. No one could see him on the NHS, he ended up with an abscess and had to take antibiotics and private dentists quoted him 3k, he gave up on the NHS and paid £700.  NHS dental doesn’t exist in his opinion.
  • With the lockdown patients were offered extractions rather than treatments that might save a tooth.
  • The country is operating at a fraction of its normal capacity.
  • Dentists may be penalised by wanting to treat those most in need.
  • Dentists are paid by the NHS according to a point system so a 3 hour procedure could be the same number of points for another 15 mins one.  So if they do not hit their targets they may lose their NHS funding.
  • There is also a big recruitment problem which does not help.

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