THE struggle for many is real. Trying to get into the dentist is as difficult as getting an appointment with a GP.
And if you live in Rochford, access to a dentist is particularly problematic.
The area has been named one of the hardest places to see a dentist in the UK.
Data from the Local Government Association shows that Rochford is one of the places in the UK with the lowest number of NHS dentists.
Data from July to September this year shows Rochford has 0.068 dentists per 1,000 people – the fifth lowest in the UK.
It comes as measures to tackle a backlog in dental care will be presented to parliament next week, the health secretary has said.
Cheryl Roe, Deputy Leader of Rochford Council, said: ‘No one can get an NHS dentist appointment and I had to go private to get my daughter a place in the NHS.
“I think the whole situation is just ridiculous and finding out that we are one of the worst is even scarier.
“I think that’s ridiculous and there will be a lot of people who don’t drive and have to travel a certain distance on public transport to see a dentist.”
She added: ‘I think the whole system needs to be looked at, I have tried to get appointments for others in the past and had great difficulty doing so.
“I think it’s very disappointing and I think dentists prefer to work in private, but there should be rules for them to do more NHS work too.
“Not everyone can afford higher prices for private work because it’s expensive.”
The senior adviser’s calls for system checks come after Health Secretary Therese Coffey told the Conservative Party conference that ministers will aim to tackle ‘dental deserts’ with regulatory reforms that are expected to be unveiled next week.
Paul Downes, chairman of the Noak Bridge Residents Association, said: ‘Obviously this is a big deal and I feel very sorry for people who cannot get appointments or afford to pay for dentistry private.
“It’s an infrastructure issue and I think it’s going to get worse.
“I know people have had problems getting an appointment.
“There are far too many people for far too few dental services.”
New analysis of data, collected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and published as a rate per 1,000 population on the LGA data platform, shows that no local authority area in the country counts anymore one dentist providing NHS treatment per 1,000 people.
Previous research has shown that children from disadvantaged communities have poorer dental health than those from more affluent places. According to the LGA, there are wide variations between local authorities in England, ranging from 7% to 51% of five-year-olds having dental caries.
The Commons has already heard of people across the UK having resorted to DIY dentistry because they were unable to get dental care from the NHS.
During a debate in June, shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said a man even shared testimony of trying to pull his teeth out with a pair of pliers, but ” they kept slipping and it was agony.”
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Ms Coffey said: ‘It’s frankly crazy that we have restrictions on the recognition of doctors, dentists and nurses in the UK itself.
“That’s why I’m tabling a regulation next week that will allow the General Dental Council to continue to accredit dentists to work across our UK, so we can have oases of oral care, rather than deserts. dental.”