Havering faces dentistry crisis with 100,000 NHS treatments missed

RETRANSMITTING AMENDING SPELLING OF NAME TO ALAN Dentist Dr. Alan Clarke and Dental Nurse Lynsey Gal

Shawn Charlwood said following lockdown over "100,000 Havering residents" missed out on needed dental care. - Credit: PA

Havering is facing a dentistry crisis as at least 100,000 NHS treatments have been missed since the pandemic began, according to the British Dental Association's (BDA) general dental committee chair. 

BDA made the estimate by comparing monthly treatment figures from before and after the pandemic.

Chair of the BDA’s general dental practice committee Shawn Charlwood said NHS dentistry was “underfunded and overstretched” before the pandemic struck.

Research carried out by the Healthwatch Havering in October last year found only four of 27 dental surgeries they spoke to were accepting new NHS patients, which is now “probably zero”, says the local health watchdog’s executive director Ian Buckmaster.

Although Covid rules limit how many patients dentists can treat, there is a more “deep-rooted problem” with the target-based NHS contract system, Ian added.

NHS London say the contract system is not to blame, as surgeries are obliged to give the majority of appointments to NHS patients.

A spokesperson said the difficulty for new patients is the “considerable backlogs” caused by Covid-restrictions and the prioritisation of urgent care.

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They said NHS England is developing a four-year roadmap to get dental services back to a "normalised setting". 

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