Dewsbury woman 'lives on soup' after losing teeth following failed NHS dentist search

  • Video report by Lisa Adlam

A woman who has struggled to find an NHS dentist says she has been left unable to eat solids after losing several teeth.Jan Davies, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, says she "lives every day in pain" after failing to access treatment.

She said: "I live on Weetabix and soup because I physically can't chew. That should not be happening in this day and age."

Ms Davies, who works for a builder's merchant, believes her teeth became brittle following hormonal changes after a hysterectomy.

Having been treated by an NHS dentist, she was removed from their register before the pandemic after missing two appointments because of work issues. She said things had since worsened and she had lost a number of teeth.

"I pleaded and begged them [to treat me], saying it was unavoidable, but they would not have it," she said. "Then Covid hit and since then it has been a non starter."

She said she had been unable to find another surgery taking on new patients and could not afford private treatment.

"It affects me day to day," she said. "There is never a day when I am not in pain. But to be honest you learn to live with it. Obviously working I am very conscious of it. I think it is very noticeable and the fact there is now crumbling at the front I am terrified of that falling apart.

"Would I love a steak? Yes. But you just can't chew it.

"I just want to be able to live and eat without being in pain. I have worked all my life and paid all my tax and National Insurance and can't get access to something so basic."

Ms Davies spoke ahead of a Commons debate on the issue of NHS dentistry on Tuesday following a report from MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee which said "urgent and fundamental reform of NHS dentistry" was needed.

Committee chair Steve Brine said: "Declining levels of NHS dentistry activity should have been sounding alarm bells."

A government spokesperson said ministers were working to improve access to dental care and were investing more than £3 billion a year to improve dentistry.

The spokesperson said: "We also recently announced a 40% increase in dentistry training places and have amended the guidelines so dental therapists and hygienists can deliver more treatments and will set out further measures to improve access shortly."

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