New Green Party policy report to reveal some startling new figures on NHS dentistry:
* 55% of NHS practices are not taking new patients
* Little more than two-thirds of children visit NHS dentists - and it's getting worse
* Access to NHS dentistry is down to "geographical accident"
A new policy report to be launched this week by the Green Party will reveal startling new figures on the state of NHS dentistry, based on Freedom of Information Act research.
And the new report - A Green New Deal for the NHS - will show that just £1.8 billion a year would make NHS dentistry "a service that Britain can be proud of."
The report will show that:
* Between 55% and 60% of NHS practices are not taking new NHS patients.
* Access to NHS dentists can range from 1 dentist per 1,000 people - to as little as one-quarter of that, depending on where people live.
* Some Primary Care Trusts have no NHS dentists taking on new patients.
* The percentage of children who visited NHS dentists fell from 70.7% in March 2006 to 69.0% in June 2008.
* Less than half of the adult population is accessing NHS dentistry, and the numbers are continuing to decline.
Green Party health spokesperson Stuart Jeffery said today:
"The dental service received £2.1 billion of direct funding in 2007/08. If the current NHS dental service was provided free at the point of use, the total cost to the NHS would increase by £531m to a total of £2.6 billion.
"If the NHS wanted to provide free dentistry to 75% of the population (from the current 50%, assuming that some people will want to remain private), the total level of funding would need to increase from £2.6 billion to £3.9 billion. As the NHS currently provides £2.1 billion, an increase in funding of £1.8 billion would be required for patients to have dentistry free at the point of access.
"It seems little to ask to restore NHS dentistry to what it should be - a service that Britain can be proud of."
The full report _A Green New Deal for the NHS_ will be published later this week.
Published and promoted by Tracy Dighton-Brown for the Green Party of England & Wales, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.