The British Dental Association says that over 70% of practices left operating are at less than half pre-COVID capacity.
They have told the Department of Health and Social Care in an open letter that a package of capital funding now offers the only hope of restoring routine services to millions of patients across Yorkshire and the Humber.
According to new survey data from practices across the region 73% of practices are now operating at less than half their pre-pandemic capacity.
While nearly two-thirds are reporting less focus on ‘routine’ dentistry, as urgent and emergency cases receive needed priority.
Between the March lockdown and September in England over 14.5 million fewer NHS treatments were delivered in 2020 compared to the same period last year. A figure the BDA now estimate to have reached 19 million.
With practices remaining open during the current lockdown, dentists have stressed the focus remains on managing an unprecedented backlog of urgent cases. They say this is limiting the scope for essential routine dentistry, particularly in NHS care.
The BDA has warned of widening inequality, as patients face poorer outcomes given the huge barriers to early detection of conditions from decay and gum disease through to oral cancer.
Dentists In Yorkshire & Humber Fighting Huge Backlogs
British Dental Association Chair Eddie Crouch said;
“COVID restrictions have left dentists across Yorkshire firefighting with huge backlogs, unable to see more than a fraction of our former patient numbers.
“We now face a Catch-22. New rules could bring back a dose of normality but come with a multi-million-pound bill for a new kit that practices simply cannot afford.
“On paper, we have a chance to restore services to millions, but without support from the Government, it won’t translate into better access.
“The clock is ticking on an oral health time bomb, as dentists lose the chance to act on the early signs of decay and oral cancer.
“Ministers have a choice. Make an investment that would pay for itself and bring millions back through our doors, or leave patients waiting for the care they need.”
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