1. ITV Report

Thousands in Bradford struggling to get dentist appointments

Thousands of people in Bradford have tried and failed to get appointments with dentists, new figures have revealed - the highest proportion of unmet need in the whole country.

Credit: PA

Analysis by the British Dental Association (BDA) shows that more than 1.4 million adults across England have tried and failed to access care.

And a further two million are estimated to have not even tried because they did not think they would get an appointment.

More than 200,000 people in our region had tried and failed to get appointments, the figures showed - over 18,000 of them in Bradford.

That was the highest proportion (16.9pc) of any clinical commissioning group (CCG) area in England.

In the Bradford City CCG area, an estimated 4,952 people were unsuccessful in getting appointments, with 13,545 in NHS Bradford Districts CCG.

The BDA says the figures reflect the perfect storm facing patients, as budget cuts, contract failure and staffing problems bite.

They say NHS dentistry is operating on a budget that has remained largely static since 2010, but with patients contributing a greater share each year through increasing NHS charges.

The BDA has called on all parties to remove barriers to care, address historic underfunding and deliver meaningful reform of the NHS contract system.

Dave Cottam, the British Dental Association's chair of general dental practice, said:

Underfunding, failed contracts and recruitment problems are creating a perfect storm for patients across the East of England.

"These access problems are no longer affecting a few 'hotspots', but are now the reality for millions across every English region.

"The public are entitled to access care, but the system is stacked against them. They face practices struggling to fill vacancies, NHS charges designed to discourage attendance, while our contracts cap patient numbers.

"Those losing out are the patients who need us most. The next government owes it to them to ensure this service has a future."

– Dave Cottam