Family unable to get appointment with NHS dentist flies 6,000 miles to BRAZIL

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A family has to travel nearly 6,000 miles to Brazil for dental checks due to the NHS crisis.

Stuart Woodmansey, from Market Weighton in Yorkshire, says he hasn’t been able to get an appointment ‘for years’.

Meanwhile, his Brazilian-born wife Kedma, who moved to Britain in 2017, cannot even enroll or register her son Jacob with a local NHS dentist.

This means they have no choice but to combine trips to see Ms Woodmansey’s family in Sao Paulo with health checks.

Security consultant Mr Woodmansey said it was “much cheaper” than paying privately, despite flights costing up to £700 per person.

It comes amid an NHS dental crisis following the Covid pandemic which has left desperate patients resorting to ‘do-it-yourself’ procedures.

Stuart Woodmansey, from Market Weighton in Yorkshire, says he hasn’t been able to get an appointment ‘for years’. Meanwhile, his Brazilian-born wife Kedma, who moved to Britain in 2017, cannot even enroll or register her son Jacob with a local NHS dentist.

This means they have no choice but to combine trips to see Ms Woodmansey's family in Sao Paulo with exams.

This means they have no choice but to combine trips to see Ms Woodmansey’s family in Sao Paulo with exams.

Even before the pandemic, dentistry was in crisis and it is the only part of the NHS operating on a lower budget than a decade ago.

Many dental practices say it is no longer financially viable to offer NHS procedures, leading to an ‘exodus’ of dentists to the private sector when Covid hit.

Speaking of his ordeal, Mr Woodmansey said The sun: ‘I can’t get appointments in our area. I tried for years.

“I have to go to Brazil when we are there on vacation.

Mr Woodmansey, 43, has not been screened since before the pandemic, after Covid ruined travel plans for millions.

“After paying a flight, around £600-700, the dentist in Brazil only charges around £50 per visit.

Speaking of his ordeal, Mr Woodmansey said: 'I can't get appointments in our area.  I tried for years.  Pictured with his wife

Speaking of his ordeal, Mr Woodmansey said: ‘I can’t get appointments in our area. I tried for years. Pictured with his wife

Ms Woodmansey also tried to check in with the dentist during the pandemic, but was told they

Ms Woodmansey also tried to check in with the dentist during the pandemic but was told they ‘couldn’t take’ new patients

Millions of people have been left without access to dental care after the number of NHS dentists fell to its lowest level on record last year

Millions of people have been left without access to dental care after the number of NHS dentists fell to its lowest level on record last year

Official health service data, which records the number of adults seen by NHS dentists over 24-month periods, shows the drastic drop in the number of people seeing a dentist since the pandemic.  While people struggled to access pre-Covid NHS dentistry services due to a lack of appointments, the situation has deteriorated further with 6million fewer people seen compared to pre-pandemic levels

Official health service data, which records the number of adults seen by NHS dentists over 24-month periods, shows the drastic drop in the number of people seeing a dentist since the pandemic. While people struggled to access pre-Covid NHS dentistry services due to a lack of appointments, the situation has deteriorated further with 6million fewer people seen compared to pre-pandemic levels

How much does NHS dentistry cost, compared to private?

There are 3 NHS pricing bands:

Group 1: £23.80

Covers an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, scaling and polishing, as well as planning for further treatment.

Band 2: £65.20

Covers all treatments included in Tranche 1, plus additional treatments, such as fillings, root canal treatment, and tooth extractions (extractions).

Group 3: £282.80

Covers all treatments included in bands 1 and 2, as well as more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges.

By comparison, checkups can cost between £20 and £120 at private dentists, according to Which?.

Dentures and bridges can also cost up to £2,520, according to the consumer watchdog.

“It’s much cheaper than £1,000 for private treatment here.”

Ms Woodmansey also tried to check in with the dentist during the pandemic but was told they ‘couldn’t take’ new patients.

Dental practices do not always have the capacity to accommodate new patients, according to the NHS.

This means that patients may have to go on waiting lists, find another willing dentist, or pay to be seen privately.

NHS patients in England currently pay £23.80 for a checkup, but getting crowns, dentures and bridges can cost up to £282.80.

Private consultations can cost up to £120, while similar procedures can incur fees of up to £2,500, according to Which?.

Last week, it was revealed that the Woodmanseys are not alone in their plight. Two in five people struggle to see an NHS dentist.

Meanwhile, residents of Somerset cannot register as new NHS dental patients for routine care.

There has been a mass exodus of NHS dentists from England over the past year which has left the health service with its smallest workforce in a decade.

Two-thirds of dentists said they planned to reduce their commitment to the NHS, with a third planning to go fully private next year.

It has created ‘dental deserts’ across the country where there is almost no chance of seeing an NHS dentist for routine care.

Campaign groups warn that patients face a ‘twin crisis’ of access and affordability, which could deepen inequalities – despite the government’s ‘race to the top’ agenda.

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