The number of dentists working on NHS patients fell 1,649 in the first three months after new contracts began. The total fell from 21,111 on March 31 to 19,462 on June 30, down nearly eight per cent, according to official NHS Information Centre statistics.
Dental Practitioners Association chief executive Derek Watson says the contract is "inflexible and unfair”. He adds "We forecast it would make things worse and regrettably, it looks like we were right. Although the report tries to cover up the exodus by claiming figures from two reports released within 50 days of each other are not compatible, a dentist with an NHS contract is a dentist with an NHS contract whichever way you count them."
Fewer dentists will mean the problem of access to NHS dental treatment will become worse.
Dentists are frustrated by the target-driven approach of the new contract, which fails to allow a more preventative approach to care. Dental insurance is filling the gap, with a prevention driven approach and cover for emergencies.
Dental insurance : News update: October 2006