NHS dentist shortage: Liverpool woman travels 170 miles for treatment as local dentists closed to new patients
One-hundred-percent of NHS dentists in Liverpool City Region are not accepting new adult patients, according to new research.
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Szilvia Bardi, 41, moved to the city centre from London in January of this year and after calling every local NHS dentist, was left with no other option than to commute back to the capital for treatment.
Ms Bardi told LiverpoolWorld: “I didn’t have any issues finding a dentist when I was in London but there is nowhere taking on patients here.
“It’s cheaper and easier for me to travel to London to see my old dentist than it is to pay for private treatment.”
Full extent of NHS dentistry shortage revealed
According to the BBC’s in-depth investigation, nine in ten dental practices offering NHS treatment are not accepting new adult patients in the UK.
North-West England was one of the worst affected areas, alongside Yorkshire and the Humber and the South West.
Contacting 6,880 dental practices, believed to be almost all practices offering NHS care, BBC News also discovered that eight in ten practices are not taking on children.
The shortage is a result of restrictions placed on dental practices during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
During the initial lockdown of March 2020, the government suspended all routine dental care and urgent care was restricted, leaving many people across the UK with a variety of dental concerns, left untreated.
Despite restrictions being lifted in June 2020, dentists have struggled to resume normal service, with many facing staff shortages and temporary closures due to staff covid infections.
The BBC’s investigation found that in 35% of all local authorities, researchers did not successfully reach any practices accepting new adult NHS patients.
Wirral, Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton were amongst those not taking on any new patients when research was undertaken in May, June and July.
London reportedly had the best access, with almost a quarter of NHS practices taking on new patients.
Access to Liverpool dental practices
On August 8, LiverpoolWorld contacted ten local practices providing NHS care to see if there was any change to availability. Choosing these practices at random, we found one that was accepting patients:
• Abercromby Dental Centre: Not accepting adults or children.
• Aigburth Dental Practice: Not accepting adults or children.
• Atlantic Dental Practice at Ropewalks: Not accepting adults or children.
• Chelwood Dental Practice: Accepting all new patients across Liverpool.
• Edge Hill Dental Practice: Not accepting adults or children.
• Hale Road Dental Practice: Not accepting adults or children
• Rose Lane Dental Practice: Not accepting adults or children.
• Smithdown Dental Practice: Not accepting adults or children.
• Sheil Road Dental Practice: Not accepting adults or children.
• Vauxhall Dental Care: Not accepting adults or children.
More information about the BBC investigation can be found here.