Healthwatch England has co-signed an open letter addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on behalf of the Healthwatch network calling for a recovery plan for NHS dentistry.
We have supported the British Dental Association in calling on the Chancellor to use the forthcoming Spending Review to provide vital investment in NHS dentistry.
Read the open letter from Sir Robert Francis QC, chair of Healthwatch England, and BDA chair Eddie Crouch.
Dental care for all who need it
Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve heard from people all over Medway who are unable to find dental care for themselves and their children, leaving them in pain and taking matters into their own hands.
Only this week we were talking to people on the streets of Chatham and the Age UK centre in Gillingham about their experience of trying to get a dental appointment.
Tell us your story
Your story could help us drive change to our dental service in Medway. Tell us if you've managed to get an appointment or did you give up? How long has it been since you saw a dentist?
We want to hear your positive stories too.
Our chair Sir Robert Francis QC said:
“Lack of access to NHS dentistry has exploded as an issue for people over the last year, with both the volume of feedback and negative sentiment going through the roof.
“We’ve heard from patients up and down the country unable to find care, leaving them in pain and taking matters into their own hands.
“We’ve also heard from parents unable to register their children with an NHS dentist, as local dental practices weren’t taking on new patients, had gone private or had closed down.
“Every part of the country is facing a dental care crisis, with NHS dentistry at risk of vanishing into the void.
“The Government needs to use the forthcoming spending review to provide vital investment in services like dentistry that help keep us all healthy and ensure we build back better for current and future generations.”
Eddie Crouch, chair of the British Dental Association said: “In the last spending review ministers chose to make patients pay more into NHS dentistry, so they could pay less.
“These charges are now a substitute for decent state investment, with no attempt to even try and keep pace with demand or inflation.
“Ministers have pledged reform. Simply telling dentists to do more with less will not provide the care our patients desperately need.”