Toothless in England marches against lack of progress in NHS dentistry

dental campaigners march streets for better NHS dental careToothless in England will take to the streets to mark the passing of 12 months since the event that sparked the group’s formation. 

The campaign group kicked off in Suffolk last year after the last NHS dental practice in the town of Leiston closed its doors.

Now, it has expanded to become a nationwide cause.

On Friday 29 April, the Toothless in Suffolk branch will gather outside the closed practice to protest against the current state of NHS dentistry.

Severe consequences

‘It’s nothing short of a disgrace. A national disgrace,’ said Steve, a co-founder of the campaign.

‘NHS commissioners are employed to ensure NHS treatments are provided where there’s a need, and yet they are seemingly incapable of fulfilling their responsibilities.

‘Their understanding of the severe consequences this dental crisis is having on the health of patients, both young and old, is limited.’

Areas in Suffolk have been visited by dental charity Dentaid in a bid to get residents out of pain.

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‘NHS dentist for everyone’

Fighting for an ‘NHS dentist for everyone’, the campaign group is pushing for six demands:

  1. An NHS dentist for everyone
  2. Reforms to the NHS dental contract that will encourage dentists to provide NHS treatments
  3. Revenue to cover the 50% of the population that are unfunded by the government
  4. NHS dental treatments to be free at the point of use
  5. People to be prioritised before shareholder dividend – no more privatisation
  6. An end to the two-tier system. Hygienists, routine check-ups and preventative care must be a core NHS function.

Eddie Crouch, chair of the British Dental Association, added: ‘Leiston offers a taste of where NHS dentistry is heading unless the government steps up.

‘A whole community denied access to basic healthcare, with charities that normally operate in the developing world left to pick up the pieces.

‘We will only see progress if ministers turn the page on a decade of failed contracts and underfunding.’

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