The number of patients who saw a dentist in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole fell dramatically during the pandemic.
According to figures from NHS England, there was a sharp decrease in appointment numbers in 2020/2021 due to the pandemic. Millions of appointments were cancelled and the British Dental Association estimates that a year’s worth of dentistry has been lost.
In Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, 114,356 adults attended an NHS dental appointment in the 24-month period leading up to December 2021. This represents 36% of the population. In the same time period in 2017/2019, almost 168,000 patients visited an NHS dentist.
During the first lockdown in England in March 2020, practices closed, with a network of emergency hubs operating to provide urgent treatment. Most practices reopened in June 2020 but clinics have been restricting patient numbers since.
The number of patients dental teams can see daily was reduced significantly and practices are still not working to pre-pandemic capacity. The result is huge backlogs and waiting lists.
Some NHS dental practices have also terminated or handed back contracts and switched to private dental services, which is increasing waiting times. Many surgeries are also struggling to fill vacancies for NHS dentists.
The British Dental Association (BDA) warned the government that NHS dentistry is at the “last chance saloon” and urged ministers to take urgent action to stop NHS dentists leaving the service and improve access for patients.
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on Thursday, March 17th, 2022 at 10:10 am and is filed under NHS Dentistry.
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