New task force to launch to tackle Plymouth’s growing dental crisis

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A new task force is set to launch to tackle the growing dental crisis in Plymouth.

There are currently more than 21,000 people in the city waiting to see an NHS dentist. The number has increased by over 120% since 2018.

The new Labour council in Plymouth is putting together a dedicated task force to identify issues contributing to the situation and try to implement changes, which will improve access to NHS services in the area. The Dental Task Force will be made up of cross-party councillors, local NHS leaders and key stakeholders. The city’s three MPs have also been asked to join.

Councillor Mary Aspinall, cabinet member for health and adult social care, explained that the new task force is a direct response to the increasingly concerning situation in Plymouth, with more than 20,000 people already waiting for an NHS dentist and numbers set to increase further. Most people can’t afford to pay for private dentistry, which means that they are stuck, leaving them at risk of gum disease, decay and other dental diseases.

Cllr Aspinall added that standards of oral health are already declining among the city’s children due to limited access to NHS dental services and said that urgent action needed to be taken to ensure that more people benefit from routine and preventative care. In the last year alone, around 600 children have had over 4,000 teeth extracted. The situation is impacting the health and well-being of children and costing the NHS millions.

There is currently an underspend on dental services of approximately £7 million in Devon. The task force will aim to ensure that funds are directed towards core services and projects and initiatives, which will benefit those who need access to dental care most.

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