Calderdale Children ‘Face Years of Pain’ Due to Backlog of Dentists in Tooth Extractions
It comes as BDA and Healthwatch England have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to warn children across the country are struggling to access NHS dental care and are at risk of suffering as dentists grapple with the backlog. during the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesperson for the BDA said: “The BDA understands that waiting lists for child tooth extractions in the York and Calderdale / Kirklees regions are now over 24 months. These procedures – which take place in hospitals under general anesthesia – have also been impacted by the disruption of elective procedures. These children face years of pain and, as a result, difficulty eating, speaking and socializing.
“The collapse of access to services from the main street prevents the first signs of degradation from being detected early, which means that this backlog will increase. Failure to support primary care has implications for secondary care.
“With high sugar containment regimes, the suspension of public health programs and ongoing access issues, demand is expected to increase among children. “
Four in five patients, including children, who contacted Healthwatch about dentistry had difficulty accessing timely care.
There have been 30 million fewer dental appointments than expected since the first lockdown and dental services will continue to feel the impact of the pandemic for “years to come,” they added, calling the Treasury to take action during the next expenditure review.
In a letter to Sunak, the organizations called for a turnaround plan for dentistry, but said patient fees should not be increased to balance the books.
The organizations have warned that the fees – paid by adult patients unless they benefit from certain exemptions – have “turned into a substitute for significant public investment.”
Healthwatch England also claimed that some people will have to wait up to three years for dental treatment while patients report their teeth pulled out or being told to use ‘do-it-yourself filling kits’.
The letter from Sir Robert Francis QC, Chairman of Healthwatch England and BDA Chairman Eddie Crouch states: “NHS dentistry faces an unprecedented backlog – the initial suspension of face-to-face care and Ongoing restrictions mean more than 30 million appointments lost since the lockdown, and patients and the NHS will feel the impact for years to come. “
Sir Robert said: ‘Lack of access to NHS dentistry has exploded as a problem for people over the past year, with both the volume of comments and negative feelings exploding.
“We have heard from patients across the country unable to find care, leaving them in pain and taking matters into their own hands.
“We also heard from parents who were unable to register their children with an NHS dentist because local dental offices were not accepting new patients, had become private or had closed.
“Every part of the country is facing a dental care crisis, with NHS dentistry at risk of disappearing into a vacuum.
“The government must use the upcoming expenditure review to provide vital investments in services like dentistry that help us all stay healthy and ensure we build back better for current and future generations. “
In Parliament, Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted there was a “real problem” with access to dental services in England, but said the upcoming recommendations on changes to Covid’s working practices should help clear the backlog of cases.
* Support your Halifax Courier by becoming a digital subscriber. You’ll see 70% less ads on Stories, which means faster load times and an improved overall user experience. Click on here register