The British Dental Association has said there has been inadequate funding for NHS dentistry for the past decade. This has decreased incentives to take on more patients and is causing a crisis in the availability of dental care.
The NHS commissioned a survey of 2000 adults and found that:
- 41% said it had been difficult to book an appointment
- 20% said they could not access all the treatments they required
- 17% felt pressurised to pay privately
- 21% wanted to get NHS treatment but were unable to find it
According to Healthwatch England the problem has only been exacerbated by the pandemic and subsequent rising living costs. These factors have contributed to staff shortages and affordability of services.
The Government has claimed that it will be increasing investment to improve access to services and intending to reform the system in line with their levelling up agenda.
More and more we see healthcare services calling for Government support coming out of the pandemic to help address industry-wide funding and staff shortages. These recent crises have developed into a situation where access to healthcare, both physically and financially, has become extremely difficult. As a nation that prides itself on access to free healthcare, the Government has a lot of work to do.