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Over 1,000 calls to 111 for dental help in the Thames Valley

As most practices remain closed people are seeking advice from 111.

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 8:00am 24th May 2020. 2-minute read.

Over 1,000 calls to 111 for dental help in the Thames Valley

Thames Valley residents are increasingly seeking advice from the non-emergency line. 

There were 1,130 calls from Thames Valley residents to 111 over dental issues in April. 

This is more than double the 564 seen in March. 

Most dental practices remain closed for standard care, with only a few hundred across the UK open as Urgent Care Centres.

However, only 9% of calls in April were triaged calls advised to see a doctor. 

The British Dental Association said practices providing urgent care are currently seeing less than a quarter of the patients they did before the pandemic.

BDA chairman Mick Armstrong said:

"In England routine care was shut down while an urgent care network was still on the drawing board. We are now seeing the results.

"Officials have found you cannot shut down a system that treats over 30 million people a year, without putting anything adequate in its place.

"Sadly, the pace left patients in pain with nowhere to go, while dentists waited weeks on PPE deliveries in empty clinics.

"Government failure to support dentistry through the pandemic means many patients may not have practices to come back to."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously told MPs that reopening dentists practices has to be done in a safe way, particularly over the use of aerosols.

He said:

"Dentistry by its nature requires close contact, and it can be an aerosol-generating procedure in certain circumstances, which makes it a higher risk to the dental practitioner – the dentist or nurse – and, in turn, to future patients, so we have to get this right.

"Emergency dentistry is available in dentistry hubs, which have been set up during the crisis. It is important to get this right, but it is also important to get dentistry back on its feet."

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