Dentistry takes top spot for most delayed healthcare service
Dentistry comes first on the list of the most delayed healthcare services in the UK.
In an Oral Health Foundation survey, almost half (45%) reported dental appointment or treatment delays in the last 12 months. This is the top reported service delay, climbing above other healthcare services including:
- GP surgeries (30%)
- Hospital services (16%)
- Mental health support (11%).
Current figures indicate that up t0 20 million dental appointments have been delayed or cancelled since March last year.
Dr Nigel Carter is chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation and believes that vital funding and support is needed to fix the crisis within NHS dentistry.
He said: ‘Dentistry has been severely underfunded for many years and services have suffered greatly during the pandemic.
‘To address the backlog caused by COVID-19 restrictions, and to ensure dentistry does not fall behind other crucial health services, now is the time for government to provide more funding and invest in the nation’s oral health.
‘Regular dental visits are key for maintaining good oral health. Dentists can spot oral health problems in the early stages and provide patients with advice and care that can save them from both invasive and expensive treatments later down the line.’
Unaware of symptoms
He added: ‘Dentists also conduct potentially life saving mouth cancer checks as part of every routine appointment.
‘Many people are unaware when it comes to mouth cancer symptoms and how to look for it.
‘Therefore the only mouth cancer check they’d get is when they have their regular appointment.’
Due to the pandemic, one in 10 (12%) accessed remote dentistry services over the last year. This includes telephone advice, video calls and emails.
However research reveals that almost three quarters (74%) say they prefer physical dental appointments.
Follow Dentistry.co.uk on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.