Covid-19 contributes to huge drop in dental appointments in Worcestershire
Recent statistics have outlined the impact of Covid-19 on dental services, with figures suggesting a dramatic drop in the number of courses of dental treatment delivered in England.
In Worcestershire and Herefordshire, the number of dental treatment courses provided by NHS dentists has plummeted by 70%. In 2020/2021, 121,000 treatments were delivered to patients in the two counties compared to 408,000 in 2019/2020. Figures were taken for the period between June and March.
The number of treatment courses provided for children in Herefordshire and Worcestershire fell by 73% to 32,200 in 2020/2021 compared to 117,000 in 2019/2020.
The pandemic has caused widespread disruption for dental providers, with practices forced to close for several weeks in March 2020. Even when clinics reopened in June 2020, capacity was reduced dramatically to allow for social distancing and fallow time between patients. Since December, most practices have been able to offer a wider range of services, but many are still prioritising patients with urgent needs.
Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s general dental practice committee, warned of a deepening crisis across England, with the number of dentists falling nationally and restrictions still limiting the number of patients dentists can see.
So far, Mr Charlwood stated, millions of people have missed appointments and this could contribute to a surge in the demand for complex dental treatment at a time when dentists are leaving the profession or going private.
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