Which UK city is accepting the least NHS patients?

Where in the UK is it hardest to find an NHS dentist?

A new report found that Bristol had the lowest acceptance rate for NHS dentistry, with just 14% of the city’s 50 practices accepting patients.

In February, police broke up long queues outside a Bristol dental practice that was reopening and accepting new NHS patients. The area had reportedly been without an NHS dentist for seven months, as the practice had closed in June 2023. Out of 50 practices in Bristol, the report found that only seven were accepting NHS patients.

To collect this data, flexible workspace provider UNTIL analysed the acceptance rate of the 50 NHS dentists listed on the NHS website for each UK city.

After Bristol, Norwich had the lowest acceptance rate, with eight out of the 50 practices (16%) accepting patients. Cheltenham, Swindon, Northampton and Plymouth followed, all with nine practices out of 50 (18%).

York (22%), Reading (22%), Portsmouth (22%) and Oxford (24%) were also among the worst acceptance rates.

Which cities had the highest NHS acceptance rates?

Birmingham was found to have the highest acceptance rate of 68%, with 34 practices accepting NHS patients. The top 10 cities by acceptance rate were:

  • Birmingham (68%)
  • Bradford (62%)
  • Dudley (62%)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne (60%)
  • Luton (58%)
  • Coventry (58%)
  • London (54%)
  • Manchester (52%)
  • Wigan (52%)
  • Walsall (50%).

Adarsh Thanki is dental director at UNTIL. He said: ‘NHS dental services frequently grapple with funding limitations and resource deficiencies, which can compromise the quality and accessibility of care.

‘The outdated NHS dental contract, implemented in 2006, prioritises government targets over patient needs, effectively capping the number of NHS treatments dentists can perform annually.

‘Termed “unfit for purpose” by the Health Select Committee 14 years ago, the system covers care for just over half the population of the UK.’

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