Dental services yet to recover after the pandemic

Dental services in Bristol, north Somerset and South Gloucestershire are still feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to latest figures.

The British Dental Association said the latest figures – which show treatments remain below pre-pandemic levels across England despite a surge in activity – show NHS dentistry is “on its last legs” and in need of urgent change.

In the year to March, a total of 480,715 courses of treatment were delivered to adults and children in the former Bristol, north Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG area, figures from NHS Digital show.

This was more than double the 232,374 treatments delivered in 2020-21, but still 35% below the pre-pandemic figure of 740,197.

Different figures show in the two years to June, 297,534 adults saw their local NHS dentist in Bristol, north Somerset and south Gloucestershire – 39% of the over-18 population.

That represented another fall from 45% in the 24 months to June 2021, which saw dental activity first hampered by the pandemic, and a drop from 54% in the two years to June 2019.

Some 49% of children (97,494) were seen by NHS dentists between July 2021 and June this year, compared to 37% over the same period the previous year, and 62% in 2018-19.

Across England, dentists carried out 26.4 million treatments in 2021-22, though the BDA said this is just two-thirds of the average volumes delivered annually in the five years prior to the pandemic – 39.4 million.

According to the NHS Digital figures, there were 506 NHS dentists working across the former NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG area in the year to March – meaning each one had the equivalent of 1,916 patients on their roster.

An NHS spokesman said: “The latest data show dental services are recovering post-pandemic, with over 26 million patient treatments delivered last year – up 120% from the year before, along with 1.7 million more children getting seen by an NHS dentist.”


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