165 children under 11 in Lewisham were admitted to hospital for tooth extraction last year, new government figures show.
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 Sajid Javid brings forward a plan to ensure everyone who needs an NHS dentist can access one.
Paul Bell, Lewisham’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
“Backlog Britain is holding Lewisham back and our children are paying the prices. From GPs and A&E to courts, passports and driving licences our country is stuck in a queue. And now we know that children in Lewisham are ending up in hospital because they can’t get the dental treatment they need.
“We need a government that will prioritise the health and well-being of children and families in Lewisham, instead we have a Conservative Government too mired in scandal and fighting amongst themselves to act.”
Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said:
“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.”