DIY dentistry incidents, including people using superglue to glue homemade teeth to their gums, are rising across Britain as more than nine in 10 NHS dental practices are unable to offering appointments to new adult patients, the director of watchdog Healthwatch England has warned.
According to a survey by the British Dental Association and the BBC, 91% of NHS practices in England were not accepting new adult patients, with this figure rising to 97% in the East Midlands and 98% in the South West, North – the west and Yorkshire and the Humber.
Across Northern Ireland, 90% of NHS practices were not accepting new adult patients, compared to 82% in Scotland and 93% in Wales.
The survey also found that of practices not taking on new adults in England, only 23% had an open waiting list, and 16% said the waiting time was at least a year , or were unable to give an estimate of how long it would take.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Louise Ansari, country director of Healthwatch England, said the survey results showed the state of dentistry in the UK was “abysmal” and that she had heard of people pulling their own teeth. .
Ansari said: “I think the research really confirms and amplifies what we’ve been saying for a few years and it’s pretty dire.
“So many people can’t get NHS dentist appointments, they’re in pain, they’re anxious, some people can’t eat or talk properly.
She added: “And suddenly, indeed, it’s not unusual for us to hear stories of DIY dentistry, things like making resin teeth and sticking them in their gums with superglue, which is an absolutely hopeless situation for someone.”
The Health Secretary said a ‘real sprint’ would be needed before winter to ensure the NHS was able to cope with the pressures of seasonal flu, coronavirus and the health cost crisis. life.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Steve Barclay said: ‘We have very real challenges ahead in the autumn and winter, and as far as I’m concerned there needs to be a real sprint within Whitehall, and in particular in the ministry of Health. , to prepare for September.
He added that there was an “urgency” for the health system to prepare and that decisions needed to be made now, rather than waiting until the fall because it would be too late.
“Part of my role is to prepare for reasonable worst-case scenarios. Of course, these pressures can take different forms. You might get a bad flu, you might get Covid rates higher than we expected or liked,” Barclay added.
Commenting on the survey results showing that NHS dental practices could not accept new patients, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Improving patient access to care NHS dental care is a government priority and the new dental contract reforms announced last month are an important step, allowing top performing practices to see more patients, make better use of the range of professionals working in the sector such as dental therapists, hygienists and nurses, while more fairly rewarding dentists for providing more complex care.