New study suggests a third of dental practices may go private

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A new study suggests that a third of dentists are considering ceasing NHS services and treating private patients only.

A poll conducted by the British Dental Association (BDA) revealed that one in three dentists are thinking about switching to private dentistry. In addition, many others are contemplating retiring or quitting the profession.

The findings of the survey are alarming, particularly as a recent report by Healthwatch England indicated that some patients may be waiting until 2024 to see a dentist. If a large proportion of dentists stop providing NHS services and others retire or change careers, the situation will get even worse.

The BDA survey showed that 47% of dentists polled said that they were likely to reduce NHS services in the year ahead if working conditions didn’t improve. Around 30% are considering going fully private and over 45% could retire or switch to a different career. The survey involved 1,767 dentists in the UK.

The latest statistics suggest that the number of practices providing NHS dental care has fallen from 9,661 in 2014/2015 to 8,408 in 2019/2020.

The last year has been incredibly tough for the dental profession and almost half of dentists said that they were unsure how their business would fare in the next 12 months.

Chair of the BDA’s general practice committee, Shawn Charlwood, said that the future of NHS dentistry “will hinge on the choices made by the government in the next 12 months.”

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