Lancashire is a dentist desert: what private dentists and our readers have to say about it

We bring you the fall-out following the coverage of Lancashire’s disapearing dentists.
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The findings, released by the BBC, created a stir across Lancashire, with many expressing dissaproval and others admitting it comes as no surprise.

What do private dentists say about Lancashire’s NHS dentistry crisis?

Dental bodies and readers react to Lancashire's NHS dentistry crisis.Dental bodies and readers react to Lancashire's NHS dentistry crisis.
Dental bodies and readers react to Lancashire's NHS dentistry crisis.
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The Post approached Denplan, the country’s leading dental plan specialists, and asked what they thought about the new findings.

Dr Sneh Khemka, CEO at Simplyhealth and Denplan, replied: “The NHS is under unprecedented strain, exacerbated by the pandemic and dentistry is no exception. We have been seeing this trend for some years, dentists are leaving the profession and the current shortfall comes as no surprise to us. The country needs to look at different solutions and we are starting proper conversations with government which will allow affordable access to dentistry for all. Denplan has been offering choice to patients for the last four decades enabling them to spread the cost of dental care if it is needed, avoiding large, unexpected bills.”

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What did our readers say about Lancashire’s NHS dentistry crisis?

Nicki Livesey: “as a dental nurse many years ago for 22years, in my 20's, my boss and I sat discussing in 30 years time, there will be no NHS dentists! This was just as private dentists were able to be private, but not allowed to advertise!!!"

Ian Duffy: “Twelve years of Government neglect means stuff like this is sadly inevitable”

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Wendy Keogh: “I could have told them this about two years ago.”

Elizabeth Ashcroft: “The ONLY reason I can get an appointment is because I'm lucky enough to have dental cover with work so can go private. I'd hate to think what state my teeth would be in if I had to rely on an NHS dentist.”

Have any readers been affected by Lancashire’s NHS dentistry crisis?

Pauline Lfc Hacker: “No Dentist are accepting NHS patients I've been...ringing since last year still nothing.”

Linda Gibbings: “I have got my first check up in 3 years its ridiculous"

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Julie Moss:”I struggled to get an NHS dentist and was desperate as my crown had come out. Finally got seen as an emergency four months later. After that, I went private, paying monthly."

Joan Ellen Gibbons: “Impossible to get one now. I was offered a clean and Polish for £240 from a non NHS dentist! That is ridiculous.”

Joanne Amos: “I couldn't get one even for an emergency when I fell and smashed my face. However, I have since joined a private one and the difference in care is unbelievable. Obviously at a far higher cost but totally worth it. Luckily I am in a position to afford this (just). I would imagine some dentists will also use this against people and hike the costs because people are stuck for choice.”

What did the NHS say about Lancashire’s dentistry crisis?

On Monday, a spokesperson for the NHS in the North West told the Post: “The NHS recently announced the first reforms to dentistry services since 2006 which will support practices to improve access including by giving high performing practices the opportunity to increase their activity and treat more patients – discussions around further changes that benefit patients and staff are ongoing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a disproportionate impact on the North West region, has inevitably led to a disruption in routine dental care with NHS dentists having to focus on providing care for those with an urgent dental need.

“We are committed to ensuring everyone can access high quality dental care, and are looking at ways to increase access to existing services working with partners, including local dentists, to improve the recruitment and retention of the dental workforce in the area.

“At the end of January, NHS England nationally announced £50 million of non-recurrent funding to help increase access to dentistry services across the country, equating to just over £7million in the North West and aimed at addressing the most pressing issues around patient access where timely intervention for the relief of oral pain, disease and infection is vital to prevent and reduce future complications. In the North West we released further additional funding to support that work.

“All practices in the region have been invited to be involved in this initiative and additional access is becoming available each week.

“It is important to note that anyone who is in dental pain or in urgent need of support, help or advice, can telephone their own dental practice in the usual way. If they don’t have a usual dentist and have an urgent need they can contact the dental helpline on 0300 1234 010.”