Madeley urged to correct record on NHS dentistry

Madeley urged to correct record on NHS dentistry: The British Dental Association has urged TV presenter Richard Madeley to correct the record, following inaccurate comments concerning NHS dentistry made on Good Morning Britain this morning.

Mr Madeley told commentators Kevin Maguire and Andrew Pierce that “NHS dentists are not capable of doing extractions anymore”.

He said: “I was talking to a private dentist only last week, who was saying that so many people now have to go private because NHS dentists are not capable of doing extractions anymore. They are simply not trained up to that level.”

The GMB host also stated as “categorical fact” that instead of extracting rotten teeth, patients are being handed antibiotics and referred to casualty. While complex cases can be referred to hospital, the BDA stresses dentists are fully trained to undertake these procedures. Accident and Emergency services are not placed to provide this sort of treatment, and dentist leaders have warned such suggestions will only place further pressure on other NHS providers.

The BDA believes Mr Madeley has wholly misrepresented the current crisis in dentistry. The number of dentists doing NHS dentistry has fallen to levels not seen since 2017. Recent BBC research revealed that nine in ten practices in England were unable to see new adult NHS patients. Over 40m NHS dental appointments have been lost since lockdown, over 12m of those for children.

The discredited NHS contract dentists in England work to is fuelling this access crisis. It puts government targets ahead of patient care, and caps spending to cover barely half the population. Minor ‘tweaks’ to the contract announced before summer recess, do nothing to improve access, or halt the exodus of dentists from the NHS and had no additional funding attached.

The Autumn Statement failed to ‘inflation-proof’ existing funds, and risks leaving a nearly £0.5b hole in the service’s already inadequate budget.

British Dental Association Chair Eddie Crouch said:

“Richard Madeley has offered a grotesque misrepresentation of a crisis facing millions of patients.

“His categorical facts are pure fiction. Dentists have the training, what’s really missing is the political will at Westminster to save this service.

NHS dentistry is at a tipping point and requires fair funding and real reform. It can do without the musings of armchair pundits.”

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