Data from NHS England shows a sharp drop in dental travel in 2020 and 2021, with millions of people across England missing checks and treatment. The figures prove that NHS dentistry is at the ‘last chance show’ and in dire need of reform, according to the British Dental Association. In the two years to December 2021, 107,428 adults in Wigan had a date: 41% of the population and a significant drop from the 24 months to December 2019, when 152,645 – 59% – went presented. Between March and June 2020, dental practices were instructed to close and postpone non-emergency routine dental care to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Appointment times also slowed due to extra precautions staff had to take, including decontamination and the use of extractor fans.
Police crack down on motorists using Wigan’s new link road as a racing track
According to the BDA, more than a year of dentistry has been lost to the pandemic so far, with the association’s research showing that 40 million fewer treatments were provided between April 2020 and December 2021. The president of the BDA, Eddie Crouch, said that every missed appointment translates to bottlenecking problems and deepening inequalities in oral health, which could lead to patients requiring more extensive and more expensive work. . The association urged the government to deliver “meaningful and urgent reform” to the industry, saying underfunding, cuts and failed contracts had also contributed to the sector’s problems. Mr Crouch said dentists were leaving the NHS and warned recovery from the pandemic would be impossible ‘unless ministers can stop the exodus of a demoralized workforce’. He said: “For the sake of our real patients, urgent reform cannot remain stuck on the government’s ‘too difficult’ list.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said he took ted action” to support the sector during the pandemic, adding: “Dental treatment levels are increasing and emergency care has returned to pre-pandemic levels thanks to the hard work of staff.” Last year, 47% of Wigan’s child population – 32,843 young people – have seen their dentist, up from 31% in 2020 and 64 in 2019.