A quarter of Bolton dentists have quit the NHS

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Research conducted by the Association of Dental Groups (ADG) suggests that around a quarter of dentists in Bolton have quit NHS work.

Statistics show that a growing number of dentists are switching to private work or leaving the profession altogether, with the pandemic encouraging some dentists to retire early, change careers or leave the NHS.

News of a loss of NHS dentists comes just weeks after watchdogs in the North West reported a significant increase in the number of calls linked to dental access issues. One Bolton pensioner said that he had spent £1,000 on private treatment because he couldn’t find a dental practice offering appointments for NHS patients.

Figures from the ADG revealed that 48 dentists have left the NHS in Bolton, one of the worst affected areas in terms of a loss of dental practitioners. Nationally, 951 dentists have stopped providing NHS dental care, with Bolton one of four boroughs to have lost over 20% of NHS dentists. Others include West Suffolk, Barnsley and Portsmouth.

Chair of the ADG, Neil Carmichael, said that the data is evidence that the “number of dentists working in the NHS is plummeting in many of the areas where they are most needed” and added that the combination of Brexit and the pandemic has “created a perfect storm” of a “broken NHS contract and stressful working conditions.”

The result is dentists leaving the NHS or even quitting dentistry to pursue alternative career options. The ADG is calling for urgent support for dentists and an increase in the provision of places at universities and dental schools.

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