The number of people in Hartlepool receiving dental treatment has plunged since the Covid crisis

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Drop in dental services

NHS Digital data reveals that 19,900 dental treatments were given to NHS patients in Hartlepool between June last year and March this year, a 68% drop from 62,600 in the same period the previous year.

Of these, 4,500 were delivered to children, down 72% from 16,300 in 2019-20.

Dental practices were told to suspend all routine dental care from March 25 to June 8 last year and in January the government told NHS dentists they would have to provide 45% of their pre-pandemic activity , rising to 60% in April.

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The British Dental Association says the pandemic has exacerbated longstanding problems in NHS dentistry, with capacity remaining low and around half of practices not meeting targets.

Shawn Charlwood, chairman of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said: “Millions of people still lack dental care and patients will pay the price for years to come.”

“Dentists have had their capacity reduced by pandemic restrictions and need help getting patients back through their doors.

“But even before Covid there just wasn’t enough NHS dentistry to go around.”

In the NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group area, the number of dentists offering NHS treatment fell by three to 336 over the same period.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “The government continues to support the dental sector and we are working closely with the health service to increase access to NHS dental care as quickly as possible. .”

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