Plans to roll out 'dental vans' in effort to tackle shortage of practitioners could be shelved by ministers due to 'limited availability' of vehicles

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Ministers person been accused of abandoning plans to nonstop dentists successful vans astir nan state successful an effort to tackle nan shortage of dental workers.

The vehicles, which are kitted retired to supply mobile attraction to agrarian communities, were announced this twelvemonth arsenic portion of a authorities effort to let much group to get attention.

Research has suggested that astir 9 successful 10 NHS dental practices are not accepting caller big patients, leaving astir 1 successful 5 group without care.

Last year, a Commons wellness committee published a study that concluded NHS dentistry was 'totally unacceptable successful nan 21st century' and had led to immoderate patients removing their ain teeth pinch pliers.

In February, nan Government unveiled its emergency scheme to amended dental care, which besides included £20,000 rate incentives to dentists who move to poorly serviced areas.

The vehicles, which are kitted retired to supply mobile attraction to agrarian communities, were announced this twelvemonth arsenic portion of a authorities effort to let much group to get attraction (stock image)

BDA president Eddie Crouch (pictured) said: 'Every MP who boasted to constituents astir these vans is going to person to hold connected what "non-van solutions" this Government tin travel up with'

In February, nan Government unveiled its emergency scheme to amended dental care, which besides included £20,000 rate incentives to dentists who move to poorly serviced areas

It offered one-off bonuses of up to £50 for treating patients who had been waiting for NHS bony attraction for astatine slightest 2 years.

However, The Mail connected Sunday has seen papers which propose nan scheme to usage alleged dental vans is now successful question.

A procurement archive published by NHS England past period said location was a 'limited availability' of dental vans, arsenic good arsenic dentists to tally them.

It added that nan NHS was now exploring 'non-van solutions' to activity alongside nan vehicles.

The British Dental Association (BDA) said nan revelations were a 'new low' for nan Government, who they declare are failing to tackle nan UK's dental crisis.

'Every MP who boasted to constituents astir these vans is going to person to hold connected what "non-van solutions" this Government tin travel up with,' says BDA president Eddie Crouch. 

'This is axenic farce. The Prime Minister pledged to reconstruct NHS dentistry.

'The reality is simply a scheme pinch nary caller money, nary ambition, and now location aren't moreover immoderate vans.'

Research has suggested that astir 9 successful 10 NHS dental practices are not accepting caller big patients, leaving astir 1 successful 5 group without care (stock image)

Last year, a Commons wellness committee published a study that concluded NHS dentistry was 'totally unacceptable successful nan 21st century' and had led to immoderate patients removing their ain teeth pinch pliers (stock image)

Visiting an NHS dentist is not free – but it is highly subsidised by nan Government, making it importantly cheaper than backstage dental care.

In England, NHS patients salary £25.80 for a check-up, standard and polish (if needed), and immoderate X-rays. If they went private, they would ft £40 to £75 for nan check-up, different £90 to £130 for a standard and polish and £10 to £20 for each X-ray – perchance moving up a measure of £225.

For fillings aliases guidelines canal activity nan NHS complaint is astir £70 successful England. Private guidelines canal treatments mean £320. However, an expanding number of dentists nary longer return connected NHS patients and alternatively are offering only backstage treatment.

This is mostly owed to long-running problems pinch nan NHS statement for dentists which nan BDA argues does not connection professionals capable money.

The number of NHS dentists successful England is now astatine its lowest successful a decade, astatine astir 23,000. This is down astir 700 connected past twelvemonth and much than 1,100 down from pre-pandemic numbers.

Last year, much than 12 cardinal group were incapable to entree NHS dental care, according to charismatic figures.

The Government's strategy – known arsenic nan dental betterment scheme – besides included adding nan people occurring mineral fluoride to pat h2o successful parts of nan country, to forestall bony decay and encouraging nurseries to thatch children really to brushwood their teeth.

The NHS was now exploring 'non-van solutions' to activity alongside nan vehicles (stock image)

Data suggests that, since nan scheme was announced, location has been small betterment successful entree to care. The Mail connected Sunday revealed, successful September 2023, that a grounds 85,000 patients flooded nan NHS 111 helpline seeking urgent dental care. Since then, this fig has continued to rise, pinch much than 88,000 calling NHS 111 pinch dental problems successful April.

Vijay Sudra, a dentist based successful Birmingham, has not seen aliases heard of dental vans going into believe anywhere. He said: 'The Government should connection appealing contracts to dentists successful under-served parts of nan state alternatively than utilizing these glorified ice-cream vans.'

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'We're afloat committed to rolling retired dental vans arsenic portion of our plans to amended entree for patients successful areas wherever getting an assignment is much difficult, including agrarian and coastal communities.

'Through our dental betterment plan, we're jumpstarting nan assemblage and creating 2.5 cardinal much appointments done initiatives, for illustration rate incentives for dentists taking connected caller patients and £20,000 aureate hellos for those going to activity successful underserved areas.'


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