No new NHS patients being accepted by West Berkshire dentists

New data has shown that no dental practices in West Berkshire are accepting new NHS patients.

The figures were released alongside harrowing accounts of DIY dentistry as hard-working families and pensioners struggle to find the affordable care that they need.

BBC News contacted nearly 7,000 NHS practices in the UK – believed to be almost all those offering general treatment to the public.

It’s hard to find a dentist that will take on new NHS patients in the Cambridge region (55553434)

The British Dental Association (BDA) called it “the most comprehensive and granular assessment of patient access in the history of the service”.

While NHS dental treatment is not free for most adults, it is subsidised.

The BBC heard from people across the UK who could not afford private fees and said the subsidised rates were crucial to getting care.

The lack of NHS appointments has led people to drive hundreds of miles in search of treatment, pull out their own teeth without anaesthesia, resort to making their own improvised dentures and restrict their long-term diets to little more than soup.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Newbury, Lee Dillon, has demanded a health minister comes to visit dentistry practices in West Berkshire to see for themselves how dire the situation is.

“People in our area should know if they are in pain or face a health emergency that the NHS is there for them. Yet these scandalous figures prove NHS dentistry in West Berkshire is at breaking point.,” he said.

“Our NHS dental system is broken because this Government has failed to stump up the cash. People are being forced to spend hundreds if not thousands of pounds on private dental care with some even resorting to their own at-home DIY dentistry.

“The fault for this lies solely with the Conservative Government. They have done next to nothing to tackle this crisis. Liberal Democrats are demanding a Health Minister visits our area to meet with local dentists and patients to hear just how bad things are here.”


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