Sheffield dentists are having to turn away NHS patients because of increased workloads due to the coronavirus.
Dentists around Sheffield have had to adhere to new guidelines and restrictions following dental procedures being cancelled during lockdown.
Many dentists have now privatised their facilities – forcing brand new NHS patients to fight for their ability to receive basic dental care.
Jessica Callear, dentist at Sharrow Vale Dentist Care, said: “We are currently offering all new patients to be placed onto our waiting list – our team of receptionists are working through the waiting lost and booking new patient appointments accordingly.”
Philip Hodgson, father of three and new homeowner in Sheffield, had spent more than four hours contacting his local dentists. Out of the 15 he had called, several would take him and his family on the condition that he waited up to a minimum of 8 months to 18.
Philip said: “It was ridiculous. My appointments from my previous residence had been cancelled and having moved I felt it wouldn’t be this hard. After talking to more than 15 dentists I only secured an appointment after a supposed cancellation. It was pure luck.”
Philip had also confirmed that several of the organisations suggested by the NHS had strict policies on the type of NHS patients it received, for example; some dentists did not accept new NHS patients under the age of 18.
Additionally some facilities were strictly orthodontics and required recommendation from dentists in order to reserve a check-up within their facility.
Philip added: “They’re being forced to go private and people like myself end up having to fork-out money we just don’t have – especially due to the repercussions my job received due to COVID.”
The BDA, British Dental Association, has detailed that long queues are a result of many more people looking for NHS appointments than private.
The BDA has said: “NHS contracts do not work well for patients or for dentists and we are discussing ways with the relevant authorities ways of improving them.
“The experience of going to a dentist might be different now, but they remain safe places to be.”