A local dental clinic has revealed that it will be unable to provide NHS care to 6,000 patients who had registered with the practice. Lib Dem councillors have hit out at the Government’s lack of urgency in addressing the dentistry crisis.
The local clinic wrote to patients earlier this month to outline the extent on the waiting list and the toll the pandemic has taken on their practice.
Pre pandemic the clinic was seeing over 10,000 patients , with 6 dentists and 2 dental therapists. This number is now down to 2 dentists and 2 therapists.
In an email to patients they say: “We have lost majority of our NHS dentists and we cannot seem to find any replacements, despite advertising these vacancies.
“Currently, over 6,000 patients do not have an allocated NHS dentist at the practice. Then there are another 2,000 patients on our waiting list, who have never seen us but need a NHS dentist.”
“We will be sending out communication to patients to let them know that we are unable to offer any NHS care to these 6,000 patients.”
Back in January Healthwatch York published a report showing that only 59% of York residents it surveyed had an NHS dentist, down from 84% in 2018.
Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care at City of York Council, commented:
“It’s undeniable that Covid has taken a toll on NHS dentistry across the city, however, the roots of the issue were there before Covid struck. NHS dental care services have been left underfunded and overstretched for more than a decade now. Covid measures and staffing shortages have only added to the growing problem in York and across the region.
“It is crucial that NHS dental practices locally receive support through the new Integrated Care System and the ongoing reorganisation, alongside an urgent reform of the way dentistry is commissioned and provided nationally to recruit and retain more NHS dentists.”
Councillor Christian Vassie, Lib Dem councillor and member of the Council's Health and Adult Social Care scrutiny committee, added:
“Access to NHS dentistry has been one of the most significant issues residents have raised with me over the last few months. Despite the enormous pressure dentists and NHS staff have been under over the past few years, their efforts and incredible work is truly remarkable. Sadly, the reality is that NHS dental care has collapsed in York and across the country, and it is no wonder that professionals are choosing to leave this broken system.
"The service was in crisis even before COVID struck, yet Government officials are still unwilling to call time on a failed NHS contract or reverse a decade of savage cuts.
“Government and NHS England must speed up dental contract reform and provide significant and sustained funding to tackle the underlying problems of dental access and affordability. Thousands locally will continue going without needed care until they do.”