Blackburn dentists provide 1,500 fewer free dental treatments 

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Dentists in Blackburn and Darwen have provided more than 1,500 fewer free dental treatments in the first six months of 2020, statistics show. 

NHS figures revealed that adults in the area received 14,265 free treatments in the first six months of 2020. This figure is 1,708 lower than the number of free courses issued in the same period last year. This represents a decrease of 11% since 2019 and a 32% fall since 2013/2014.

While the COVID-19 pandemic will have undoubtedly influenced this year’s statistics as practices were closed between the end of March and June, the British Dental Association (BDA) has attributed the decline in free treatment courses to the current system, which it describes as a “nightmare by design.”

According to the BDA, patients who are eligible for free dental treatment are scared to visit their dentist because they’re worried about fines and there has been a significant drop in attendance. There are concerns that due to lockdown restrictions attendance rates will continue to plunge and those who are eligible for free NHS dental treatment will avoid making an appointment. 

Free NHS dental care is available for full-time students, children, pregnant women and women who have a child in the past year, the elderly and some low-income families. 

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