Demand for dental appointments hits record high

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The demand for dental appointments in the UK has reached a record high.

New data shows that more than 6 million people were unable to get an NHS dental appointment in the last two years. Research conducted by the British Dental Association (BDA) based on new figures suggests that over 12 million people are now waiting to see a dentist. This represents an increase of one million people in the last year and indicates that over a quarter of adults in the UK have unmet dental needs.

The figures have been released days after the Health and Social Care Committee, a cross-party panel, published a review of NHS dental services. The review made several recommendations, highlighting widespread issues that were preventing patients from accessing the dental care they need. The report revealed that recommendations that were made over a decade ago have not been acted on and called for urgent improvements to the contract and provision of care to ensure that NHS dentistry delivers a better service in the future. The panel described the current system as ‘unfit for the 21st century.’

The BDA said that ministers need to implement an emergency rescue plan, with record numbers of patients now experiencing difficulties in finding an NHS dentist. The BDA has called for the government to agree to all of the recommendations in the review. More than 1,300 dentists have also signed an open letter to the health secretary.

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