Tooth decay forced 465 patients to A&E in Doncaster last year
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At Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2022/23, 395 patients were seen in A&E with a dental abscess, caused by tooth decay, and 70 with dental caries. Across the country last year, 67,000 patients attended emergency departments with tooth decay.
The number of patients attending A&E with dental decay speaks to the alarming decline of NHS dentistry. Labour’s analysis of patient survey data suggests that 4.75 million people across England were denied an appointment with an NHS dentist in the past two years. Figures show millions of people were either told no appointments were available or that the practice they contacted was not taking on new patients.
The inability for patients to access dental healthcare has forced many into A&E departments when their conditions have worsened. Currently, tooth decay is the most common reason for children aged 6-10 to be admitted to hospital.
A Labour government has pledged to provide an extra 700,000 urgent dentists appointments and reform the NHS dental contract, as part of a package of measures to rescue NHS dentistry. The plans include: funding NHS dental practices to provide 700,000 more urgent appointments; incentives for new dentists to work in areas with the greatest need, to tackle the emergence of ‘dental deserts’.
The plans will cost £111 million a year in total and be funded by abolishing the non-dom tax status, which allows people who live and work in Britain to pay their taxes overseas.
Ed Miliband, MP for Doncaster North said: “Millions of people are being denied an appointment with an NHS dentist when they need it.”
“At Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, patients are being forced into A&E with tooth decay, as they have nowhere else to turn.
“Labour will rescue NHS dentistry from this crisis, so people can get an appointment when they need one. We will provide 700,000 more appointments a year to those in the most urgent need and recruit more dentists to areas with the worst shortages.”