New figures show workforce crisis as number of NHS dentists fall across the whole of England. 

The Association of Dental Groups has responded to the publication of the Annual Report of NHS Dental Statistics for England 2020-2021 this week.

The statistics reveal that overall, the number of dentists with NHS activity in England fell sharply to 23,733 – a decrease of 951 on the previous year.

All NHS regions in England saw dentist numbers fall in 2020-21.

At four NHS clinical commissioning groups, Portsmouth, West Suffolk, Bolton and Barnsley dentist numbers declined by 20% or more from the previous year.

Neil Carmichael, Chair of the ADG, said:

“These figures are the latest proof that the number of dentists working in the NHS is plummeting in many of the areas where they are most needed.

“A perfect storm of a broken NHS contract, stressful working conditions during the pandemic and the consequence of Brexit means that now across the whole of England, dentists are leaving the NHS.

“The workforce crisis we have warned of is now present and nationwide. That’s why we urgently need to permanently increase the pipeline of new dental training places in the UK whilst also making it easier for overseas professionals to enter UK dentistry.”