Dental treatments among children more than halved in a year, statistics show
The number of dental treatments carried out on children in the UK has more than halved in the last 12 months, it has been revealed.
Around 4.2 million took place up to November 2020 in comparison to 9.9 million the previous year, according to The Telegraph.
The NHS figures were obtained by the British Dental Association via freedom of information.
This comes after it was estimated that more than 19 million NHS dental appointments were missed in 2020 down to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tooth decay remains the number one reason for hospital admission among five to nine-year olds.
More than 23,500 children underwent hospital care for tooth decay from April 2019 to March 2020.
Additionally, NHS dental practices now have to hit 45% of their pre-pandemic activity targets. Those that do will be seen to have fulfilled their contractual requirements.
But many in the profession fear the state of dentistry will worsen as a consequence.
Fear for the future
Mohsan Ahmad is a dentist and the chair of Greater Manchester Local Dental Network. He urges local authorities to make changes to ease the challenges faced by practices.
‘In the whole of the north west, they’ve decided that UDCs won’t necessarily have to achieve the 45%,’ he said.
‘They still want you to aim to do as much as possible. But as long as you’re offering one to two slots a day for patients, they will account for that if there’s any shortfall by the end of March.’
He believes the short notice of the new targets will make things difficult. However, he says he is pleased to see commissioners and teams come up with ways of reducing practice pressure.
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