The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed a new report from the Nuffield Trust which lifts the lid on huge gaps in access and health outcomes for dental patients across England.
The paper Root causes: quality and inequality in dental health stresses the need for sweeping reform of the discredited target-driven NHS contract system, and improving care for at-risk groups.
The BDA has led the call for a coherent national oral health strategy for England. Dentist leaders have expressed concern that the government now appears unwilling to let go of the system of state targets that has failed the test on both patient access and prevention since its inception in 2006.
The British Dental Association’s Chair of General Dental Practice Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen said:
"These divides between north and south, rich and poor expose the myth of universal access to NHS dentistry. We have a discredited system that funds dental care for barely half the population, and the patients that lose out are all too often the ones that need us most.
“Sadly successive governments have failed to break with a contract that sets limits on patient numbers almost by design. The service can do more to address these shocking inequalities, what we're missing is the political will.
“Tooth decay remains the number one reason for child hospital admissions. Government must now show it’s willing to end this postcode lottery and put prevention first.”