Better access but poorer quality says survey

According to the survey improved access to NHS dentistry has led to poorer quality. More than half (54%) of the UK population has experienced change in dental services in the past four years. A reduction in quality of treatment and lower levels of NHS cover are cited as the main reasons.
The Simplyhealth study of 10,000 UK respondents shows that although fewer people are now struggling to find an NHS dentist (from 39% to 29%), 18% say the NHS doesn’t cover as much as it used to. 17% feel they don’t receive the same level of treatment and 20% say they’re not asked to see their dentist as regularly. Yet, although people are finding it easier to find an NHS dentist, cost is still the major factor that’s preventing many from attending their appointments. 40% say they’ve put off going to the dentist because they can’t afford it.
 James Glover from Simplyhealth says: "Individuals and families are now able to see a dentist much more easily, which is great. However, it’s worrying that cost is forcing so many people to delay seeing their dentists, especially as NHS dental charges increased at the beginning of April.
 More people now believe that private dentistry offers a better service, up from 30% to 37%. This is put down to flexibility of appointments, improved treatment, and a belief that private dentists pay more attention to their concerns.
Practising dentist and Simplyhealth’s dental advisor, Michael Thomas, says: "The perceived drop in the quality of treatment that patients receive is really unfortunate as the NHS is doing such a good job of increasing the number of people its dentists see. However, we’re advised that the issue isn’t being ignored and is included within the Government’s ongoing reform plans."

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