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Over a million more people have visited NHS dentists in the last two years


According to a report released by the NHS information centre, an extra 1.12 million people have visited their local dentist since May 2010, after the government vowed to increase the number of people on the NHS dental register. News of the achievement comes as a further £28 million in funding has been pledged to the scheme, and there have been calls for Primary Care Trusts to work more closely with dentists to improve services still further.

Secretary of State Andrew Lansley was pleased with the results, saying ‘I am delighted that an extra one million people are now seeing dentists through the NHS. This just shows that NHS dentistry is becoming more accessible.’ He went on to say that the government was committed to building on this growth even more, whilst making sure dentists were keeping up with the highest care standards for their patients. ‘We will use the findings from these trials to help develop a new dental contract which will help to improve the quality of dental treatment patients receive.’

It is understood that the millions of pounds in funding is aimed at creating a contract whereby dentists can focus on preventative care, and seventy practices across the country are currently testing new schemes, such as paying practitioners for the results they achieve instead of the amount of treatment they provide.

NHS cuts could hit vulnerable dental patients


UK dentists have spoken about their worry over the impact of NHS cuts on their most vulnerable patients. A recent survey carried out by the British Dental Association has revealed that most dentists think the budget cuts will affect services badly, limiting access to much needed treatments. 

Although job security was a major worry for the majority of those who took part, most dentists were thinking about the effect on their patients before themselves; 83% of respondents said there were longer waiting times for appointments, whilst 72% felt that there was a reduction in available treatments. 58% of those asked thought that the standard of care had been compromised following the announcement of large NHS budget cuts.

The survey was aimed at surgeons whose work centres on patients with special needs, showing that two thirds of dentists in this sector were concerned with their patients being denied access to dental care and as a result being neglected within the system.

fortunately, it seems their voices are not going unheard, as the British Dental Association has said it will be writing to the Department of Health to persuade against Primary Care Trusts making cuts to the services of special needs dental surgeries.

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