A charity has warned that the NHS dentistry crisis may have resulted in an increase in mouth cancer deaths. The Oral Health Foundation expressed concern that access to dentistry is severely lacking, which means that many individuals with the disease will not receive a timely diagnosis. The charity emphasized the importance of routine check-ups for detecting early signs of mouth cancer, such as red or white patches, lumps, or long-lasting ulcers. According to data, only 16.4 million adults in England have visited an NHS dentist in the past 24 months, a decrease from 21 million before the Covid pandemic. The Oral Health Foundation reported that mouth cancer deaths have risen by 46% from a decade ago, with over 3,000 deaths in 2021.
The article includes images depicting the link between the rise in mouth cancer deaths and difficulties in accessing NHS dentists. The British Dental Association (BDA) highlighted that nine out of ten people can survive oral cancer if it is detected early. However, this survival rate drops to 50% when individuals are diagnosed late. The BDA warned that for some patients, accessing a dentist can be a matter of life or death. Nigel Carter, the chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, emphasized the significance of dental check-ups in identifying the early stages of mouth cancer. He expressed concern that with the current state of NHS dentistry, many people with mouth cancer will not receive a timely diagnosis. Healthwatch England, the patient watchdog, previously raised concerns about the common problem of limited access to dental care, which has resulted in numerous difficulties in receiving support.The article highlights the issue of people living in pain and resorting to DIY dentistry. In response to the data on oral cancer deaths, BDA chairman Eddie Crouch urges the Government to restore NHS dentistry effectively. The article also provides information on the cost of NHS dentistry, with three charge bands ranging from £25.80 to £306.80. Private dentists, on the other hand, can charge between £20 and £120 for check-ups and up to £2,520 for dentures and bridges. Crouch emphasizes the importance of dental check-ups as oral cancer screenings and expresses concern over the access crisis and its potential impact on lives. Louise Ansari, chief executive at Healthwatch England, calls on the Government to urgently publish its dental recovery plan and highlights the pain and lack of access faced by many individuals. She also raises concerns about health inequalities and the need for fundamental reform in the dental system. Health Secretary Steve Barclay mentions the smoke-free legislation as a preventive measure against oral cancer. Overall, the article emphasizes the need for action to address the issues in NHS dentistry and improve access and oral health for all individuals.The focus of the article is on the importance of addressing preventable illness and death, particularly related to smoking, and the need for improvements in dental care. The article also mentions the increase in the number of dentists and changes to the contract, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dental services.
According to the article, the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, emphasized the need to focus on preventing illness and death rather than just treating cancer. He mentioned that efforts are being made to increase the number of dentists and improve the contract. However, he also highlighted that smoking is the biggest cause of preventable illness and death, not only in relation to cancer but also other health conditions like strokes. Javid stated that the long-term decisions made through the King’s Speech are aimed at creating a healthier and brighter future, with a key focus on stopping smoking.
The article includes images and captions that show the increase in the number of adults visiting dentists in recent years, although it is still below pre-pandemic levels. It also shows a chart depicting the number of dentists carrying out NHS activity, which dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic but has slightly recovered. Additionally, there is an image and caption highlighting the struggles faced by patients in accessing dental care, with long queues reported in communities like Leigh and Faversham.
In summary, the article emphasizes the importance of addressing preventable illness and death, particularly related to smoking, and the need for improvements in dental care. It highlights efforts to increase the number of dentists and improve the contract, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dental services. The images and captions provide visual evidence of the increase in dental visits, the number of dentists carrying out NHS activity, and the challenges faced by patients in accessing dental care.Leigh, a community in Greater Manchester, has recently joined a growing list of communities where patients in need of dental care have been lining up early in the morning. This follows reports from Faversham, a town in Kent, where a dental practice received an overwhelming 27,000 calls for just 60 available slots on the NHS. The image shows a queue outside Faversham Smiles dental surgery last month.
Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary for the Labour Party, has criticized the Conservative government for the decline of NHS dentistry over the past 13 years. He argues that this has resulted in patients experiencing pain and a significant number of missed cancer cases. Streeting emphasizes the importance of timely cancer diagnoses and claims that Labour’s plan to rescue NHS dentistry includes providing an additional 700,000 urgent appointments per year, funded by abolishing the non-dom tax status. The party also aims to reform NHS dentistry to ensure that everyone who needs an NHS dentist can access one.
The crisis in NHS dentistry has been ongoing for many years, with industry leaders highlighting chronic underfunding as a major issue. This lack of financial support has made it financially unsustainable for dentists to provide necessary treatments. One of the main problems is the previous controversial contract that paid NHS dentists per job rather than based on the required work. This meant that dentists received the same funding for a patient needing one filling as they did for a patient needing three, despite the latter requiring more time and effort. Combined with lower pay compared to the private sector, long working hours, and burnout, many dentists have chosen to leave the NHS.
Although the dental contract has been reformed recently in an attempt to improve access to NHS dentistry, industry bodies argue that these changes have not gone far enough. As more dentists leave the NHS, the remaining dentists become overwhelmed with an increasing number of patients, creating a domino effect. Patients have reported queuing from 4am outside dental practices in order to secure an appointment, which experts warn is becoming the new norm. Dental practices have also expressed frustration at receiving thousands of calls when they only have a few slots available for new patients. Some patients have resorted to performing DIY dentistry due to difficulties in accessing NHS care.Antony Watson, a resident of Bridlington in Yorkshire, had a chipped tooth and faced difficulties in securing an appointment with the NHS. Additionally, he couldn’t afford private dental care. In order to address his dental issue, he purchased a dentistry kit that included plastic beads. He melted the beads and shaped them to fit his damaged tooth, using superglue to hold it in place. This incident highlighted the dental crisis in the UK, leading Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to propose a potential solution. He suggested that British dentists could be required to work for the NHS for a certain period of time after completing their studies. This proposal aimed to address the shortage of dental care providers in the country.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org