PATIENTS have told how they’ve been left in limbo by York’s growing dental crisis – with holes in their teeth they can’t fill and check-ups they can’t get.
The press asked readers about their dental experiences after York Central MP Rachael Maskell revealed in the Commons how the city was being hit by a growing shortage of dentists and an exodus of NHS dentists.
Here are three of the answers:
- Tony Pickering said he and his wife, both disabled and living on benefits, had recently been ‘dropped out’ by a firm in York and offered a payment plan of around £200 a year each just for checks before payments for any work required. .
“We can’t cover the household bills let alone pay someone this,” he said. “A filling they gave me last year fell out recently, but I can’t afford to have it replaced. Is this really how our society treats the most vulnerable?”
- Graham Nurden said earlier this year an NHS dentist in York gave his wife a filling but they were then unable to make an appointment for a routine check-up six months later , as the practice no longer had any NHS dentists.
He said he was now in limbo after phoning various dental practices and finding they were not taking NHS patients. “My wife and I are now awaiting outdated NHS checks and holes in our teeth which require fillings.”
- A third reader said he moved to York from London last year and spent a lot of time calling every law firm in town with no luck, and with expectations of at least 3-4 years in the next few practices still maintaining NHS waiting lists. “I needed emergency treatment twice, which I had to arrange through NHS 111, waiting around an hour each time to be offered appointments in Easingwold and Northallerton, in due to the absence of dentists in York, each requiring lengthy public transport trips,” he said.
“It is an absolute outrage that this basic health service is only accessible to those who can pay.”
Ms Maskell said a constituent told her the Aldwark practice – ‘one of the few who have worked hard to maintain good NHS services throughout this dental crisis’ – told them four dentists were leaving NHS work.
A spokesperson for the practice said there is currently an acute shortage of dentists across the UK and the practice has experienced some of these shortages. “But we would like to reassure patients that their NHS dental care will continue and that we are doing all we can to recruit new clinicians to join the practice team.”