Only 1% of dentists trust the recovery plan, survey says

Only 1% of dentists trust the recovery plan, survey says

A new national survey of dentists in England suggests that the profession’s opinion of the dental recovery plan is overwhelmingly negative.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has released data from a survey of opinions on the dental recovery plan from dentists throughout England. A total of 1,104 general dental practitioners responded to the online survey between February and March 2024.

Only 3% of those surveyed believed the plan would result in their practice seeing more NHS patients. A further 43% thought it would instead lead to the practice seeing fewer NHS patients.

Around 4% of respondents said the plan is ambitious enough to meet the scale of the current crisis. The same proportion also felt the current level of investment is sufficient to make NHS dentistry sustainable in future.

Four in 10 (41%) of participants said they were operating at pre-COVID levels of capacity. However 62% felt that the need to give more clinical time to patients with higher needs was constraining their practice from returning to these levels. The BDA said this reflects the huge backlogs generated by ongoing access problems.

Out of all dentists surveyed, only 1% believed the plan meets the government’s stated objective of providing NHS dental care to ‘all who need it’.

‘Dodgy statistics’

Shawn Charlwood is chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee. He said: ‘Check-ups are hard to come by, but it will prove much harder for ministers to find a dentist who backs their outlandish claims.

‘This profession has seen through the spin. Empty sound bites won’t stop queues outside practices, and dodgy statistics won’t call time on “DIY” dentistry. Bringing dentistry back into the 21st century requires real commitment, which is frankly in short supply.’

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