£1,700 for a £60 dental procedure. Scam? No, lack of dentists.
The last few months of 2020 have revealed a new trend: paying thousands of pounds to get treatment, otherwise get on the list and wait around two years or even worse: buy a dental kit and DIY. This has been reported by Healthwatch England, which received hundreds of complaints by UK citizens. In fact 9 out of 10 calls are from someone trying to find an NHS dentist.
The Healthwatch England document states: “A lack of NHS dentist appointments remains the most common issue that people have told us about. People have indicated that dentists have prioritised private care or asked them to pay private fees if they wanted any treatment.”
Obviously this is not a lack of respect on the part of dentists, but the inability to visit them due to the rules on social distancing resulting from the fight against the pandemic.
Such numbers have been confirmed by the crazy rise of 87% of home-dental kits, compared to 2019. “Sadly, the government is forcing dentists to prioritise volume over need by imposing inappropriate targets.” says Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s general dental practice committee.
The effect of the pandemic is not just waiting, but not receiving treatment at all which can worsen a condition and even cause death.
An example has been the story of Paul Mitchell, from Wimborne in Dorset who has waited two months before replacing his crown which came loose as he was asked to pay £2,000 for a £110 temporary crown. He developed an abscess which resulted in infection. After weeks in pain he eventually paid half of his salary to get a private appointment. “What I struggle with is that it’s not a problem if you pay. If you go private, they’ve got no problem seeing you. In my experience, the NHS dental service doesn’t exist.” said Paul.
Despite the NHS having opened 650 urgent dental hubs to support patients, there is still a big recruitment problem for dentists and Brexit hasn’t made things easier.
“A large number of practising dentists are from the EU. Some of them are going back and not many are coming here.” said Neil Carmichael, the chair of the Association of Dental Groups.
While we all look forward to better days and hope that the massive injection of lateral flow tests will make it easier to keep health providers safe while visiting their patients, we can help in recruiting the healthcare staff you might need. If you are looking for talented health care professionals please reach out to us on 0207 268 6230 or email Jobs@quanticamedical.com. If you are a health professional looking for your next placement please view all available jobs here.