‘This is how NHS dentistry will die’ – 75% of dentists likely to reduce NHS commitment in next year

75% of dentists likely to reduce NHS commitment in next yearNearly half of dentists have reduced their NHS commitment since the beginning of the pandemic.

This is according to a new report carried out by the British Dental Association (BDA).

As the organisation gives evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee in Parliament today (24 May), the new findings show:

  • Nearly half (45%) have reduced their NHS commitment since the onset of the pandemic, by an average of more than a quarter
  • Three quarters (75%) say they are likely to reduce – or further reduce – their NHS commitment in the next 12 months. Around 45% say they are likely to go fully private and nearly half (47%) indicate they are likely to seek early retirement or change career
  • Two thirds (65%) say their practices have unfilled vacancies for dentists. More than 80% of those with vacancies say the current NHS contract is a key barrier to filling vacancies. More than half (59%) cite issues relating to remuneration levels, and 30% mention difficulties attracting candidates to remote, rural or deprived communities. In addition, 29% say posts have been unfilled for more than 12 months
  • Nearly nine in 10 (87%) state they have experienced symptoms of stress, burnout or other mental health problems in the last 12 months
  • Around 86% report colleagues in their practice have received physical or verbal abuse from patients. On top of this, 75% say they are unable to spend sufficient time with patients. Only 25% say they are able to offer the kind of care they want to provide.

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Little hope

Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee, said: ‘Overstretched and underfunded, thousands of dentists have already left the NHS, but many more have begun severing their ties.

‘This is how NHS dentistry will die, a lingering decline that unchecked will leave millions of patients with no options.

‘This government has ensured many dentists cannot see a future in this service. Without urgent reform and adequate funding there is little hope we can halt this exodus.’


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