According to the Department of Health the amount of dental activity commissioned by the NHS is continuing to rise.
Health Minister Rosie Winterton says: "The commissioning figures also show that primary care trusts have put more – not less – money into dentistry than they were required to do, and the access figures show that this is translating into services for patients on the ground."
Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, collected figures under the Freedom of Information Act from 152 primary care trusts in England which show a sharp reduction in the amount of NHS work being done, leaving another 1.4m Britons without an NHS dentist.
Andrew Lansley says “ Eight years ago, Tony Blair promised everyone would have access to an NHS dentist but in the last year, 1.4m fewer people have access.”
Rosie Winterton retorted: "The latest figures show that NHS dentistry is expanding, with PCTs commissioning more dental services for patients than last year.”
Many local newspapers have had recent stories which suggest that the Department of Health has a flexible attitude to figures.
Perhaps the only way to tell who is right is to ring a few local NHS dentists and see if they will take on new patients, or if you are signed up to a local NHS dentist, how easy it is to get an appointment and what the costs would be of a dental check and fillings.
Checking out what dental insurance plans are available will then let you decide which path is best for you.
Dental insurance: News update: March 2007