COVID-19 – pandemic led to estimated 19 million missed dental visits

The dental profession is calling on urgent government support amidst reports that 19 million dental appointments have been missed since March.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has urged the Department of Health and Social Care to produce a package of capital funding.

In an open letter to Matt Hancock, it states that it is the only hope of resuming routine services to millions of patients across the UK.

‘COVID restrictions have left dentists firefighting with huge backlogs, unable to see more than a fraction of our former patient numbers, especially in the NHS,’ said BDA chair Eddie Crouch

‘We now face a Catch-22. New rules could bring back a dose of normality. But also come with a multimillion pound bill for new kit that practices simply cannot afford.’

Clock is ticking

He added: ‘On paper we have a chance to restore services to millions. But without support from government it won’t translate into better access.

‘The clock is ticking on an oral health time bomb. This is as dentists lose the chance to act on the early signs of decay and oral cancer.

‘Ministers have a choice. Make an investment that would pay for itself and bring millions back through our doors. Or leave patients waiting for the care they need.’

This year, between March and September in England, more than 14.5 million fewer treatments were delivered when compared to the same period in 2019.

The BDA now estimate that this figure totals 19 million.

Expensive investment

Speaking to BBC news this morning, Eddie Crouch said the fallow time reduction is not enough to make a difference

‘We have a report from Public Health England (PHE) that came out a few weeks ago that said if dentists could have some equipment in their surgery to change the air flow in the surgery on a more frequent basis, we would have a shorter period of time between patients,’ he said.

‘Hence, we see more patients. But that investment into dental practices will cost significant amounts of money.

‘We are asking today for the government to actually put that money into dental practices. This is so more patients can be seen.’

You can read the full letter here.


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