Experts raise concerns over dentist shortage, as number of new recruits falls by a fifth in 3 years
Experts have raised concerns over a dentist shortage after figures revealed that the number of new dentists has fallen by one-fifth in the last three years.
Researchers suggested that recruitment issues are already becoming more commonplace, and the situation is set to get worse with falling numbers of graduates and a high number of dentists expected to retire within the next five years.
New figures showed that the number of new dentists working in the UK fell from 2,571 in 2015 to 1,999 in 2018. This equates to a decline of 22 percent. The decrease in the number of dentists undertaking training has been attributed to cuts in training places, lower levels of pay for dentists and the rising cost of university fees.
Healthcare analysts, LaingBuisson, also found that there has been an increase in the number of practices accepting only private patients in addition to a sharp decline in clinics devoted solely to NHS dental care. Just 4% of practices now offer NHS treatment exclusively, compared to 15% of clinics in 2015.
Researchers highlighted the most severe access problems in Nottinghamshire, North East Essex and County Durham due to low numbers of NHS dentists.
Recent news reports have also underlined issues in Cornwall, with one patient hitting the headlines because he took his own tooth out after failing to find a local NHS dentist. Research suggests that thousands of people are waiting to register with a dentist in Cornwall, with some facing a 65-mile trip to get an appointment.