UK dentists are turning away NHS patients and only treating people if they agree to pay for private treatment, a survey has revealed.
New research by consumer magazine Which? has found that 51 per cent of dentists will only treat private patients, and only 36 per cent of dental practices are currently taking on new NHS patients.
Which? health campaigner Frances Blunden said that, despite enormous amounts of investment in the NHS, the public were still seeing cuts in services and experiencing difficulties getting treatment.
"In dentistry we've found that where needs are not currently being met, people are either putting off having treatment or are being forced to go private," she revealed.
"Although the government has succeeded with shorter waiting times and increased patient choice, these issues affect such a small minority.
"Inconsistent out-of-hours services and hospital care and difficulties in getting NHS dentistry - these are the real everyday health care issues that the government needs to focus on," she claimed.
Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat spokesman, told the Daily Mail that NHS dentistry was becoming "a thing of the past".
© Adfero Ltd
Dentistry news : 04/05/2007