A SHORTAGE of dentists accepting new patients in the district has led to fears residents could turn to DIY dentistry.
Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington, has expressed his concern about NHS dentistry provision in the local area after statistics revealed four in 10 surgeries are not accepting new adult patients.
Out of 14 surgeries in the Warwick and Leamington constituency that have provided a recent update, six are not accepting new adult patients and of these, three are not accepting any new patients.
In the West Midlands region, 45.5 per cent of surgeries are not accepting any new patients and 73.2 per cent are not accepting any new adult patients.
The lack of appointments available has left many patients with no option but to turn to ‘DIY dentistry’ as they attempt to avoid expensive private treatment which can often be up to four times the price of the NHS treatment.
Tooth extraction on the NHS should cost just over £70 but if done privately, can cost up to £280.
Healthwatch England has reported horror stories of people forced to pull their own teeth out, with a shocking one in 10 Brits claiming to have attempted their own dental work.
Mr Western said: “These figures and reports of people attempting ‘DIY dentistry’ are horrifying and I know will resonate with many people locally.
“NHS dentistry has been badly ignored by this government and now those in need of treatment are being left out in the cold, forced to take matters into their own hands. It’s disgraceful.
“We need urgent action to tackle this crisis and ensure patients can access the care they need and deserve.”
The Nuffield Trust think tank said that the service had been cut back so much it was now at the most perilous position in its 75-year history in England.
Chief executive Thea Stein continued: “Difficult and frankly unpalatable policy choices will need to be made. If, as it seems, the original model of NHS dentistry is gone for good, then surely the imperative is to provide enough access for a basic core service for those most in need.
“Whichever way we go, I’m afraid that NHS dentistry cannot continue without some kind of evaluation of the offer, even if there are some major improvements to the way services are contracted and commissioned.”