LONDON (AA) - Desperate patients in the UK waiting for dental appointments from the country’s National Health Service (NHS) have resorted to pulling out their own teeth to stop the pain, according to a local media report.
In the last two years, only one in three people have seen an NHS dentist in parts of the Merseyside region, which includes Liverpool city, the report by the Liverpool Echo said.
The report also said a woman had flown to Türkiye to have an operation after she was unable to see a UK dentist and she would have to take out a second mortgage to pay £19,000 ($20,328) to have treatment by private dentists.
The 58-year-old woman, named as Sally Murphy, reportedly flew to Antalya for a much cheaper alternative.
“The proportion of people who visited an NHS dentist has plummeted over the last five years,” the local paper claimed.
“As of June 30, just 33.1% of adults in Liverpool had visited an NHS dentist in the past two years, the lowest proportion in Merseyside, down from 50.0% in 2017-18,” according to an analysis from the House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, the daily added.
The analysis “revealed that one in five people who failed to get an NHS dentist appointment in the past year (21%) turned in desperation to DIY dentistry - meaning they either extracted their own teeth or performed another procedure on themselves, or they asked someone else who was not a dentist to help them.”
MP Daisy Cooper, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health, said: “These figures reveal a stark postcode lottery of dental care, with far too many people struggling to see an NHS dentist when they need to. In many parts of the country, it is now almost impossible to get an appointment with an NHS dentist, leaving people waiting in pain or tragically turning to DIY dentistry instead.
“It is a national scandal that people are desperately resorting to pulling their own teeth out because our public health services have been run into the ground by this Conservative government.
“Local NHS services are crumbling after years of failure and mismanagement by Conservative Ministers. Ministers need to urgently announce an NHS winter rescue plan that ensures people can see an NHS dentist for affordable treatment when they need it.
“It is now or never to save our NHS from a winter of crisis that will put patients at risk.”