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BBC Essex 8am Wednesday 22nd March 2023

Dear colleague,

Shawn Charlwood, Sandra Whitte, and Nick Barker gave the BDA's oral evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee (HSC) regarding their inquiry into NHS dentistry - see below. The video and transcript can be accessed here .

As a consequence we were contacted by the BBC and on Wednesday 22nd March, 8am), Tony Clough was presenting the views of the Essex LDC on BBC Essex.

MPs told that tweaks to the contract will not halt the exodus of dentists away from the NHS

Minor tweaks to the failed dental contract will not stop the exodus of dentists away from the NHS. That was the stark warning that the chair of BDA General Dental Practice Committee Shawn Charlwood, gave the Health and into Social Care Select Committee (HSC) this morning in our oral evidence to the Committee’s inquiry into NHS dentistry. We need to move away from the UDA system to a prevention-based model, Shawn said, to a capitation model where prevention is rewarded, that could be weighted by post code and for new patients to reflect more time needed, otherwise he warned that we'll lose a generation of new graduates. “What we’re doing at the moment is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while the service slowly slips away into the sea,” he said. When asked what the barriers were to implement a new system, which has been discussed for the past 15 years, Shawn replied that there was no new money, and that investment was being blocked by the Treasury. In addition, he explained that funding for NHS dentistry was only provided for half the population, unacceptable he said in elsewhere in the health service, and spoke about the scandal of £400 million that is being clawed back from NHS dentistry, that could have gone some way to addressing access crisis but is lost to dentistry.

See Committees - UK Parliament for full list of dental experts who provided evidence this morning inquiry.

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More than one in five Britons are currently not signed up with a dentist, according to a YouGov poll which revealed some people are even extracting their own teeth and attempting root canal treatment, the i paper reports. Patients across England, Scotland and Wales have shared desperate experiences in a survey that gives new insights into the unfolding crisis in dentistry. A growing number of towns and cities across the country have no access to NHS dentistry for new patients as people linger on lengthy waiting lists, the poll revealed. Some 22 per cent are currently not on the books of a dentist practice with the results showing that the majority of those are unable to access, or afford, treatment. More than a third (37 per cent) said it is because they cannot find an NHS dentist to take them on, with a further 5 per cent on a waiting list. Another 23 per cent say they are not signed up because they do not think they can afford to be treated. One in ten Britons (10 per cent) admit to attempting their own dental work, with most doing so because they were unable, one way or another, to get an appointment with a dentist. Of those who say they have tried to perform dentistry on themselves, a majority (56 per cent) did so within the last two years, including 36 per cent who did it within the last year. Overall, that means 6 per cent of Britons said they have tried. One in five of those who attempted a procedure did so because they could not get a timely appointment, with an additional 15 per cent saying Covid-related lockdowns prevented them from getting one. And 18 per cent of Britons who tried their hand at dentistry said they did it because they could not get registered with a dentist. Among other reasons cited were fear of going to the dentist (14 per cent) and an inability to pay for treatment (14 per cent). British Dental Association chair Eddie Crouch told i: “From the patients attempting DIY dentistry, to those who’ve given up even trying to get an appointment, these numbers show a service approaching the end of the road. Both Government and opposition need a clear plan to reform and properly fund NHS dentistry. Failing that, they may as well get started on writing its obituary.”

Kind regards, Clint Foreman (Asst. Sec. Essex LDC)

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