Dental charity urges the government to freeze NHS charges

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Representatives from the Oral Health Foundation are urging the government to freeze NHS dental charges.

In an open letter to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, the charity appeals for ministers to keep dental fees the same in a bid to help patients who may be struggling financially and improve standards of oral health. The charity has asked practices and dental professionals to support the plea.

The letter outlines a series of reasons why NHS dental fees should be frozen in 2021. Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said that many people, including those on low incomes, had been unable to access government support during the COVID-19 crisis, and suggested that increasing fees would further enhance health inequalities.

Prior to the crisis, cost was identified as the most significant barrier to attending regular dental appointments, with 36% of adults saying that they couldn’t afford to go to the dentist.

Now, with many losing work and even those furloughed surviving on 80% of their wage, the situation is likely to get worse. Freezing the fees and enabling more people to access free treatment would help to bridge gaps and encourage people to make use of routine dental services. 

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