DIY Dentistry Rises in Bradford as Patients Struggle to Get NHS Care

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Citizens in Bradford are pulling out their own teeth due to a lack of local NHS dentists, according to new reports from a health watchdog.

Healthwatch Bradford and District has revealed that people in the area are turning to “DIY dentistry” because they can’t find an NHS dentist.

Judith Cummins, Labour MP for Bradford South, is campaigning for better access to NHS dental care and described the report as “harrowing”.

Nearly 50 percent of adults and about one in three children aren’t registered with an NHS dentist and many say they have tried and failed to find a practice willing to take them on. 10 percent of people said they had visited their A&E department to have tooth pain treated.

One man, who will remain unnamed, waited eight years to get a dentist. He said he pulled out one of his own wisdom teeth and feels that dentistry has effectively privatised itself.

In the report, author Victoria Simmons says that no practices in Bradford were taking on NHS patients at the time of writing and just two were taking NHS patients on in West Yorkshire.

She said that Healthwatch is majorly concerned about this issue, as more people contact them about dentistry than anything else. She believes that if those with healthy teeth were given fewer check-ups, dentists would be able to take on more patients.

Ms Simmons said that many people with an NHS dentist are invited to check-ups every six months, despite NICE guidelines, which state that those with healthy teeth only need to visit their dentist every two years.

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