Fewer people seeing an NHS dentist, but it is costing them more

Fewer people seeing an NHS dentist, but it is costing them more

Statistics from NHS Digital showed that just 50.2% of adults had seen a dentist in the past two years – a drop from 52.5% less than a year ago. Only 44% of Londoners had a check-up in the previous 24 months. This compares with a figure of 55.7% for those living in the North West. There was also a significant rise in the amount patients’ charges which totalled £855 million in 2018-19, up from £813 million the previous year.

Dr Dave Cottam, the chairman of the GDPC said: “It’s hardly surprising that fewer patients than ever are making it to their NHS dentist. It’s the logical result of an
underfunded system that effectively caps patient numbers, and that’s now fuelling a recruitment crisis across
 the service.”

However the British Society for Paediatric Dentistry says there are early signs that dentists in England are seeing more children and providing more preventative treatments. Although the increase in dental attendances in under 18s is under one percent compared to the previous year (41.4% compared to 41%) , it is worth acknowledging that thousands more children have seen a dentist, says Claire Stevens, spokesperson for BSPD. The also figures show that more than 50% of children had fluoride varnish treatments which will protect their teeth and reduce the risk of dental decay in the future.

Other key findings from the survey

  • 22.0m adults were seen by an NHS Dentist in the 24-months up to 30 June 2019
  • 7.0m children were seen by an NHS dentist in the 12 months up to 30 June 2019
  • 39.7m courses of treatment were delivered in 2018-19.  An increase of 1.28% than in the previous year. 
  • 24,545 dentists performed NHS activity during 2018-19, an increase of 237 on the previous year. For the first time there are more women in the workforce (12,380) compared with men (12,165)
  • 46.0% of adult clinical treatments were for Scale and Polish in 2018-19
  • 52.3 per cent of clinical treatments for children were for Fluoride Varnish Treatment in 2018-19

The full report, produced by NHS Digital, analyses patients seen, courses of treatment, UDAs, size and make-up of workforce and much more.

Link: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-dental-statistics/2018-19-annual-report-pas

Excel spreadsheets:

https://files.digital.nhs.uk/3E/C72DB4/nhs-dent-stat-eng-18-19-anx1.xlsx

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