Some NHS Dental Patients Advised To Buy A Repair Kit And Treat Themselves At Home!
Some NHS dental patients now face a ‘painful’ two-year wait for an appointment – while others have been advised to buy a home kit and “treat themselves” amid a growing crisis for care, according to a consumer watchdog.
Healthwatch England said one patient that contacted them was offered a procedure for £1,700, which was available for just £60 on the NHS. In another case, a patient was told to use a nail file to deal with a broken tooth while others were advised to “buy dental repair kits” to treat their problem themselves at home! Another person was furious with their dentist after being charged £500- for the extraction of just one single tooth!
The watchdog said the COVID-19 pandemic had “exacerbated the human impact of years of structural issues in NHS dentistry and is now pushing it to crisis point”. Hundreds of people contacted Healthwatch England between October and December last year to complain about dentistry issues in the health service- the lack of appointments being the most common complaint received.
“Dental care is a critical part of our overall care services. People are having terrible abscesses and having three courses of antibiotics. There are people who will have mouth cancer and won’t have it diagnosed during this time.” said Imelda Redmond, general director of Healthwatch England. She added that people “have been really let down”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it was working closely with the NHS to increase access to dentistry services “as fast as possible while protecting staff and patients from Covid-19 infection”.
An NHS spokeswoman said: “It’s right that the NHS has set targets that help patients see their dentist, with many practices already going well beyond the target set. “Despite the pandemic, millions of people received dental treatment last year and the NHS has set up over 650 urgent dental hubs so patients can get access to a dentist if they need it.”
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