‘Making promises that can’t be kept’ – Ukrainian refugees offered NHS dentistry

Health professionals are advised to help refugees from Ukraine find an NHS dentist, sparking fears that new arrivals will be let down by the system.

In a guide put together for primary care services, it advises health professionals on how to assess and address the health needs of patients who ordinarily reside in Ukraine but have now arrived in the UK.

Titled ‘Arrivals from Ukraine: advice for primary care’, it includes guidance for vaccinations, mental health services and also dental care.

It reads: ‘The capacity of dental services will vary – support them to find an NHS dentist to attend regular dental check-ups (rather than waiting until dental issues appear); if urgent dental help is needed, they can call 111.’

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Huge challenges

Eddie Crouch, chair of the BDA, said: ‘We wholeheartedly welcome the support offered to Ukrainian refugees when it comes to healthcare. However, once again government is in danger of making promises that can’t be kept.

‘To say capacity for NHS dentistry may “vary” might qualify for euphemism of the year.

‘Access to services remains at crisis point. New arrivals will sadly face the same huge challenges as communities across the country.’

The advice for primary care professionals can be found here.

Access troubles

NHS dental services are currently facing significant access barriers across all areas of the UK.

For example, statistics reveal that more than one in 10 calls made to NHS 111 in the north east are looking for dental help.

Around 11% of phone calls to the helpline reported dental-related health problems.

MPs are continuing to highlight gaps in NHS dental services. This comes as more than 41% of people in England, Scotland and Wales are now dissatisfied with the NHS.

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