A ‘dramatic’ decline in access to dental care in York ‘is reducing the quality of life of many people across the city’.
In their latest report Dentistry in York – Gaps in Provision, Healthwatch York reveals the results of an online survey conducted in York in the autumn.
- a 30% decline in the number of people with a dentist
- 71% of residents without a dentist ‘couldn’t find one on the NHS’
- a 633% increase in respondents who had not seen their dentist for 2-3 years
- and 41% of respondents strongly disagreeing with the statement ‘I can get appointments with my dentist when I need them’.
The report says: “There has been a huge increase in the number of people unable to access dental care for two to three years.
“Over half of respondents reported having one or more problems associated with dental pain or poor oral health including not being able to sleep properly, feeling self-conscious about their appearance, being unable to eat healthy food, being unable to work, unable to undertake physical exercise, or unable to care for someone.”
‘Rapid and radical reform’
Healthwatch York have again called for urgent and rapid reform of NHS dentistry.
Research officer Roger Newton said: “We acknowledge the huge impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the additional pressures that enhanced infection and prevention control measures have imposed upon dental practices.
“However, we believe that the pandemic is not the only cause of the problems outlined in our report. Access to NHS dental care has been a problem in York for many years and continues to be at crisis point.”
Healthwatch York Manager Siân Balsom said: “The continuing crisis in dental care is reducing the quality of life of many people across the city and creating additional pressures in other parts of the health system particularly the emergency department and primary care.
“We need to support NHS dental practices regionally through the new Integrated Care System (ICS) alongside rapid and radical reform of the way dentistry is commissioned and provided nationally in order to recruit and retain more NHS dentists.”
You can read the full report here.