AN MP has laid bare the shocking extent of York’s worsening dental crisis in the Commons.
- Fewer than half of her constituents had seen a dentist in the past year, and only 59 per cent of children.
- Dentists in the city were involved in a ‘mass exodus’ from the NHS, with four dentists in one practice alone quitting the NHS recently.
- Patients were becoming so frustrated and abusive because of delays that one city practice was unable to recruit anyone to work on its front desk.
She said people who had not been to the dentist subsequently presented in more acute services and required even more expensive interventions.
The MP said that one York practice which had been “fantastic at accommodating people with dental needs throughout the pandemic” had seen four dentists leave the NHS recently.
Dentists quitting the NHS had offered affected patients private dental plans but her constituents simply could not afford that, not least because of the cost of living and housing crises in York.
She warned that with fewer dentists available, the toll and the mental stress felt by those who had stayed in the NHS and remained committed to it was building.
“Some 87 per cent of dentists experience mental stress, and 86 per cent have experienced abuse as a result of people being so frustrated by the time they reach the dentist’s door,” she said.
“The people working in dental reception areas are at the forefront of that, and I know of a practice in York that cannot recruit anyone to be on the front desk. We need significant changes to be brought forward, and that will require money and dedication.”
The MP said she had had discussions with Hull York Medical School and it was prepared to support the opening of a new dental school, although this would need investment.
“Of course, the more dentists who leave, the harder it will be to train the current cohort,” she said. “Unless we see a quick increase in the number of NHS dentists, we will be in even more difficulty. That is why the urgency is there now.”
She revealed she had been speaking to Ukrainians who had come to the UK, and wanted to put their skills into practice, have fast-track English language training and see their qualifications passported, so that they could shadow dentists getting ready for practice.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government had “put in an additional £50 million of funds into NHS dental services” at the start of the year, which “boosted dental capacity by creating 350,000 extra appointments”.
- Have you suffered from the shortage of NHS dentists in York? Email your story to email@example.com