Worcester a 'dentistry desert' for NHS care claims Labour's PPC - The Worcester Observer

Worcester a 'dentistry desert' for NHS care claims Labour's PPC

Worcester Editorial 26th May, 2023 Updated: 26th May, 2023   0

LABOUR’S prospective MP for Worcester Tom Collins has issued a stark warning the city has become a ‘dentistry desert’ where residents are unable to register for access to dental treatment on the NHS.

Nationwide, 2,000 dentists quit the NHS in 2021, around 10 per cent of all dentists employed in England, and an estimated four million people can’t access NHS care.

In Worcester, this situation has led to an alarming reality in which new residents in the city are reporting they are entirely unable to register for local dental care via the NHS.

Speaking amid rising concern around the city, Mr Collins said: “One resident recently phoned for an appointment having failed to register as an NHS patient.

“They were offered an earliest available appointment in two months’ time, until they pointed out they were not registered as an NHS patient.

“As a private patient they were offered an appointment the following week.”

Mr Collins also alleged a patient was told they may need a root canal but were told if they used an NHS dentist, the procedure had a low success rate, but if they paid for the same procedure privately, it would be done by a specialist dentist with a significantly higher success rate.

“This is shocking to tax-paying patients – our NHS GPs and hospi- tals never try to push us into prior- ity lanes for an additional fee. They certainly never tell patients that the quality of care they are receiving is sub-par,” he said.

“This can massively affect people’s quality of life, and also their ability to work. Dental pain is a significant driver of sickness absence and stress.

“Neither patients nor our economy can afford the short-sighted choices made by Conservative governments. It doesn’t have to be this way.

“The last Labour government reduced waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks.  The next Labour government will secure the future of NHS dentistry, providing the funding, staff, equipment and modern technology needed to ensure patients get the treatment they need.”

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