NHS dentistry may not fully recover, BDA warns

NHS dentistry may not fully recover, BDA warns

NHS dentistry may not fully recover, BDA warns

Following the NHS Dental Statistics 2022/23 published today, the British Dental Association (BDA) has warned that there is no prospect of NHS dentistry returning to pre-COVID-19 levels without radical reform.

The statistics show that there were 32.5 million courses of NHS treatment delivered – this is 82% of the 39.7 million provided in 2018/19.

The BDA has stated that these figures show NHS dentistry is struggling to return to pre-pandemic levels without ‘radical and urgent change’.

As a result, the professional body warns that limited gains in the past year will not reduce an ‘ever-growing backlog’. This is because of patients are presenting with a higher level of need with ongoing access issues.

Broken system

The statistics also revealed:

  • Around 18.1 million adults were seen for NHS dental treatment in the 24 months up to June 2023. This is 17.5% lower than the 22 million seen in the 24 months up to June 2019
  • Around 6.4 million children were seen in the 12 months up to June 2023, which is 9% lower than 2019 levels
  • Some 24,151 dentists performed NHS activity during 2022-23. This is a decrease of 121 dentists on the previous year
  • Almost half of children in England (44%) did not have an annual check-up with an NHS dentist last year.

Eddie Crouch is chair of the British Dental Association. He said: ‘We’re seeing the limits on the recovery and this government’s ambition.

‘Demoralised dentists are walking away from a broken system, while millions struggle to access the care they need.

NHS dentistry can come back from the brink, but only if ministers turn the page.’

NHS dentistry NHS dentistry may not fully recover, BDA warns

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