Only a Third of Manchester Dental Practices Accepting New Child Patients

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An investigation by the Manchester Evening News has revealed that only one in three Manchester dental practices is taking on new child patients.

Reporters from the MEN analysed data from the NHS, which showed that two thirds of practices in the city and the surrounding area are not accepting new patients. The findings have been revealed just a month after statistics from the NHS were published, showing that children in Manchester have some of the poorest standards of oral health in the country.

In Bolton, only four out of 10 practices offered new places for children, while there are currently only 6 surgeries taking new child patient applications in Rochdale.

The lack of access may result in patients travelling longer distances to see a dentist or even paying for private dental care. Leah Elcock, from Healthwatch Bolton, said that there is a worry that problems now will result in a rising number of children requiring treatment in the future. She added that Healthwatch Bolton is working with NHS England to try and find solutions to issues with access.

A spokeswoman for NHS England said that access to dental care in Manchester was not a major issue at present and significant improvements have been made in the region thanks to the introduction of a programme called ‘Baby Teeth Do Matter’, which was launched to improve access. Dental care is available free of charge on the NHS. However, parents have a responsibility to register their child and take them for regular appointments and often this is the problem, rather than children being unable to get an appointment.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said that in an urban area, access is not an issue when a third of practices are accepting new patients.

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