150,000 signatures reached
To: The Prime Minister
Save NHS dentistry and make it fit for the 21st century
1. Properly fund NHS dentistry, so everyone who needs care can secure it.
2. Scrap the failed contracts forcing dentists out of the NHS and rebuild a service with prevention at its heart.
Why is this important?
I’m Tom Thayer, a hospital consultant. I treat patients left with horrifying mouth injuries after trying to pull out their own teeth out.
Everyone who needs an NHS dentist should be able to get an appointment.
But overstretched and underfunded, there are now fewer and fewer NHS dentists available. A recent survey found nine out of ten practices are no longer taking on new NHS patients.
The Government’s own figures shows that 12 million people are unable to get NHS dental treatment. While nearly half our kids are no longer getting regular NHS check-ups. The Government has just announced a new plan that's meant to encourage dentists to see new patients. But the money they've offered to fund it is less than half what's already being scraped out of dentists' budgets, and dentists like me can see straight away that it's not good enough - it won't stop dentists leaving the workforce or help the millions who can't get care.
Dentistry isn’t a nice to have, or an optional extra. The oral health gap between rich and poor is widening. Tooth decay remains the no 1 reasons a child will end up in hospital.
Day in, day out my colleagues are seeing scenes that belong in the Victorian era. Simply because they can’t get an NHS appointment.
None of this is inevitable. This is a wealthy 21st-century nation. This is all the result of choices made in Westminster.
Rishi Sunak ran for the leadership on a promise to “restore NHS dentistry”. His ministers have set out big ambitions but offered little more than sticking plasters. Join me, The British Dental Association and The Mirror in telling him that deeds need to match words.