Is dentistry in crisis in the UK?
Time & Location
About the Event
Sejal Bhansali is Chair of Conservative Dentists Group. She is a full time practising dentist, specialising in cosmetic treatment and facial aesthetics. Her vision is to make a lasting and positive difference to people’s lives; this has been rewarded with many long-term patient and client relationships. Sejal has published articles in various dental journals. She is regularly interviewed by the BBC Asian Network and is part of the ladies panel on many shows. She has also set up the Kenya branch of the Dental Wellness Trust.
Before COVID-19 more than 2 million adults in England were unable to see an NHS dentist, an additional 1.45 million had tried and failed to get an NHS appointment in two years, with an additional 700,000 people needing care but thought it was too expensive.
That was before COVID-19. Recent investigations show more than half of dentists are not giving regular check ups. The NHS is only giving access now to urgent care.Too many people are ignoring minor symptoms such as toothache or bleeding gums and allowing them to get worse. The number of dentists working in the NHS is plummeting but, with an ageing population demand is increasing. Dentists have been shut with a backlog of work building up and dental exams have been cancelled. More than 50,000 people are on waiting lists for NHS dentistry in Cornwall alone and the city of Portsmouth now no longer has a single dental practice accepting new NHS patients.
Is it time we accepted that Dentistry should become a service provided by the private sector? How can the NHS continue to provide a decent dentist service for all? Should all cosmetic dentistry be private? How are we to cope with the problem arising with children's teeth as a result of poor dental hygiene and eating habits with lack of care? In the short-term, the only realistic solution would be to make it easier for overseas professionals to enter UK dentistry, but should we be doing this and taking them away from other countries with even more need than our own? Is dentistry in crisis in the UK?