180 children under the age of 11 across Tameside and Stockport were admitted to hospital for tooth extraction last year, new government figures show.
The new figures have been slammed by Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish and Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister. Labour have raised concerns that people are finding it increasingly difficult to get an NHS dentist, as 12 years of Tory mismanagement of the health service is seeing dentists quitting in droves.
2,000 dentists quit the NHS last year, around 10% of all dentists employed in England.
An estimated 4 million people can’t access NHS care, with some parts of the country now described as ‘dentistry deserts’, because remaining NHS dentists aren’t taking on new patients.
According to the British Dentistry Association, emergency teeth extractions are now the most common reason for children to go to hospital.
Labour is demanding that the Government acts and has tabled a motion to be debated and voted on in the House of Commons today, calling on Sajid Javid to bring forward a plan to ensure everyone who needs an NHS dentist can access one.
Commenting, Andrew Gwynne said:
“Children across Tameside and Stockport are ending up in hospital because they can’t get the dental treatment they need, it is utterly shameful.
“The Conservative’s failure to fix this crisis is putting the oral health of children at increasing risk. Yet they don’t seem to want to do anything to sort it out.
This Government has run out excuses, it needs to get a grip and make sure that local children can be seen on time, and get the care that they deserve.
Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, added:
“What kind of country have we become, when children are forced to attend hospital to have their teeth removed?
“The Conservatives are overseeing an exodus of dentists from the NHS, leaving people who can’t afford to go private unable to get any care at all.
“The longer we give the Conservatives, the longer patients wait. Labour will put patients first and make sure they can be seen on time.”
Notes to editors
- Data source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hospital-tooth-extractions-of-0-to-19-year-olds-2021
- Around 1 in every 10 dentists in England quit last year, leaving 4 million people unable to access an NHS dentist. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/may/01/dental-deserts-form-in-england-as-dentists-quit-nhs-experts-warn
- The BDA have warned that the most common reason for children ending up in hospital today is for tooth extraction. https://news.sky.com/story/dentist-crisis-people-unable-to-get-nhs-treatment-resorting-to-desperate-measures-to-stop-pain-12625429