Dental plan “too little too late” for 92341 children not seen by an NHS dentist in our ICB area (Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent).
Research, commissioned from the House of Commons Library, estimates the number of children who weren’t seen by an NHS dentist in the year to June 2023, based on the latest data from the health service. It shows a staggering 42% of our (Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent) children who had not been seen by a dentist over the twelve month period.
And 55% of adults had not been seen by an NHS dentist in the two years to June 2023. That equates to nearly 500,000 Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent adults who went without NHS dental care over a 24 month period.
The Government’s new Dental Plan is too little too late. Their cash incentives for NHS dentists, mobile dental services and dental teams visiting schools and nurseries will tinker at the edges of long standing problems with the dental contract which have made it uneconomic for many dentists to provide NHS care. This means that the NHS budget has actually been underspent by perhaps as much as a record £400m last year.
It may be a surprise that tooth decay is the number one reason for children to have to undergo general anaesthesia: bad for them and for our hard pressed NHS. Yet it could be prevented if only Government resourced dentistry to provide what NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have long recommended, yearly dental examination for children.