Dentists blast NHS reform as just 3% believe the government’s plan will help them to see more patients, poll finds

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  • The Government has unveiled a £200 million plan to bolster NHS dentistry

Just 3 per cent of dentists believe that the Government’s dental recovery plan will result in them seeing more NHS patients, according to a new poll.

A survey of 1,104 dentists in England found that 43 per cent actually believe the proposals will lead to them seeing fewer NHS patients, while 54 per cent said the number of NHS patients they see will remain the same.

The Government unveiled its £200 million plan to bolster NHS dentistry in England last month.

However, leading dentists said the recovery package will not be enough to help people struggling to access dental care.

A new poll by the British Dental Association (BDA) found that three-quarters (75 per cent) of dentists do not believe that the plan will improve NHS access for new patients.

Just 3 per cent of dentists believe that the Government’s dental recovery plan will result in them seeing more NHS patients, according to a new poll (Stock Image)

A survey of 1,104 dentists in England found that 43 per cent actually believe the proposals will lead to them seeing fewer NHS patients (Stock Image)

A survey of 1,104 dentists in England found that 43 per cent actually believe the proposals will lead to them seeing fewer NHS patients (Stock Image)

More than nine in ten (93 per cent) said that the proposals are not sufficiently ambitious to meet the scale of the challenge facing NHS dentistry.

The dental recovery plan includes £20,000 bonuses for dentists working in under-served communities, dentists being paid more for NHS work and a Smile for Life advice programme aimed at parents. 

There are also plans for the rollout of so-called ‘dental vans’ in rural and coastal communities and plans for the biggest expansion of water fluoridation in England since the 1980s.

As the plan was unveiled, hundreds of people were seen queuing in Bristol after a dentist opened up its books for new NHS patients on February 6.

Police were called to help manage the queues people stood for hours hoping to get on the list for NHS care.

MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee are to quiz Health Minister Dame Andrea Leadsom on the Government’s recovery plan for NHS dental services today.

Hundreds of people were seen queuing in Bristol after a dentist opened up its books for new NHS patients on February 6

Hundreds of people were seen queuing in Bristol after a dentist opened up its books for new NHS patients on February 6

The Government said that the plan will ‘fund more than 1.5 million additional NHS dentistry treatments or 2.5 million NHS dentistry appointments’.

But the BDA has called on the Government to release the modelling behind the claim.

Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s general dental practice committee, who will also give evidence to the committee today, said: ‘Check-ups are hard to come by, but it will prove much harder for Ministers to find a dentist who backs their outlandish claims.

‘This profession has seen through the spin.

‘Empty soundbites won’t stop queues outside practices, and dodgy statistics won’t call time on ‘DIY’ dentistry.

‘Bringing dentistry back into the 21st century requires real commitment, which is frankly in short supply.’

The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.

NHSBristol

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