Derbyshire Faces NHS Dental Crisis as Contracts Terminated

Derbyshire County Council terminated seven NHS dental services contracts since November 2022, causing partial shortages in several areas. Local authorities and NHS leadership are working to attract more dental professionals and implement measures to reduce the strain on existing practices.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Derbyshire Faces NHS Dental Crisis as Contracts Terminated

Derbyshire Faces NHS Dental Crisis as Contracts Terminated

Derbyshire County Council has revealed that seven NHS dental services contracts have been terminated since November 2022, resulting in partial shortages of dental provision in several areas. The affected regions include Bamford, Bolsover, Erewash, Goyt Valley, Hadfield, Ripley, and Derby and Derbyshire Domiciliary care.

Why this matters: The termination of these contracts has far-reaching implications for public health, as access to dental care is essential for preventing and treating a range of health problems. If left unaddressed, this shortage of dental services could lead to increased rates of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues, ultimately affecting the overall well-being of the population.

The primary reason cited for the contract terminations is funding issues. Local NHS leadership is now working to disperse funding to other branches to provide more services to the areas in need. "We seem to have gone backwards in terms of progress. Dentists used to be freely available," said Cllr Christine Dale during a council meeting on Monday.

The impact of the contract terminations is being felt acutely in certain areas. "Ripley now has no NHS dental practices and I think it is fair to say that there is very little NHS dental provision across Amber Valley as a whole," noted Cllr Paul Moss. A rapid oral health needs assessment is currently underway for Ripley to secure long-term NHS dental provision for the town.

To address the shortage of dentists, the NHS Derby and Derbyshire Integrated Care Board is planning to attract dental professionals with shorter, more attractive one-year contracts and increased payments per patient. "We have the flexibility and we have got the cash to attract dentists back," stated Clive Newman, director of primary care for the board.

In addition to recruiting more dentists, the board aims to reduce the backlog and pressure on dental practices by utilizing dental therapists and hygienists for certain services and treatments. There is also a proposal to advise patients with good dental hygiene to have 12-month or 18-month gaps between check-ups instead of the traditional six months.

The termination of seven NHS dental contracts since November 2022 has left Derbyshire facing a dental care crisis, with several areas experiencing shortages in provision. Local authorities and NHS leadership are now working to attract more dental professionals and implement measures to reduce the strain on existing practices, aiming to ensure that residents have access to the dental services they need.

Key Takeaways

  • 7 NHS dental services contracts terminated in Derbyshire since Nov 2022.
  • Funding issues cited as primary reason for contract terminations.
  • Areas affected: Bamford, Bolsover, Erewash, Goyt Valley, Hadfield, Ripley, and Derby.
  • NHS plans to attract dentists with shorter contracts and increased payments.
  • Measures to reduce strain on practices include using therapists and longer check-up gaps.