£15k 'bounty' to revive NHS dentists backed by Pershore MP - The Evesham Observer

£15k 'bounty' to revive NHS dentists backed by Pershore MP

Evesham Editorial 14th Nov, 2022   0

A BID to halt the decline in access to NHS dentistry across Evesham and Pershore has been made after the Government offered a £15,000 ‘bounty’ to boost local services.

Dentists will be offered the one-off payment to encourage them to commit to working in a location for up to five years.

NHS England, which is responsible for dental service provision, is also planning a county-wide activity to increase the number of dentists and to encourage existing businesses to take on more NHS patients.

According to data provided by NHS England, two local dentists – Bupa Dental Care in Pershore and Upton Dental Surgery – are taking on new NHS patients.

The news was welcomed by Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin who has been feeding back local concerns about dental provision.

“I have had quite a few constituents who have passed on examples of where they have struggled to find a local NHS dentist and I am aware in some places the cover has not returned to normal after the pandemic,” she said. “I am pleased to hear NHS England is taking a constructive approach to try and find more local dentists who are prepared to commit to an area and hope we will see an increased level of provision soon.”

The move comes nearly a year after the shortage of NHS dentists was first highlighted when the NHS Hereford and Worcestershire CCG reported an eight per cent drop in NHS dentists in the two counties.

A survey conducted by Savanta ComRes for the Liberal Democrats revealed four out of ten people cannot afford the £250 average cost of a filling from a private dentist without borrowing money or turning to friends or family for financial assistance.

The same proportion said they could not afford the £370 required to have a wisdom tooth extracted, while nearly six in ten could not afford root canal surgery, which has an average cost of £970.

Dan Boatright, Pershore Liberal Democrat county councillor, has investigated the situation in Worcestershire and said: “Anyone who wants an NHS dentist should be able to access one.

“Like many residents, I have struggled to gain access to affordable dentistry, and it is becoming a bigger problem as the cost-of-living crisis bites and people are forced to cut back.”


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