Collapse of UK NHS dentist practices: People pull out their own teeth without anaesthesia
Christian Fernsby | ▼ August 8, 2022
The British Dental Association (BDA) and BBC identified 8,533 dental practices across the UK that were believed to hold NHS contracts, with attempts made to call them all.
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Across England, it was found that 91% of NHS practices were not accepting new adult patients - 4,933 of 5,416 - rising to 97% in the East Midlands, and 98% in the South West, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.
Of those practices not taking on adults in England, 23% (1,124) said they had an open waiting list, and 16% (791) said the wait time was a year or longer, or were unable to say how long it would be.
Out of 152 local authorities in England, BBC researchers did not successfully reach any practices accepting new adult NHS patients in 56 (37%) local authorities.
In England, 79% of NHS practices were not accepting new child patients - 4,293 of 5,416.
Across Northern Ireland, 90% of NHS practices were not accepting new adult patients, calls made by the BBC found.
This figure was 82% in Scotland and 93% for Wales.
While NHS dental treatment is not free for most adults, it is subsidised.
The BBC heard from people across the UK who could not afford private fees and said the subsidised rates were crucial to getting care.
The lack of NHS appointments has led people to drive hundreds of miles in search of treatment, pull out their own teeth without anaesthesia, resort to making their own improvised dentures and restrict their long-term diets to little more than soup. ■ What to read next
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