A family has to fly nearly 6,000 miles to Brazil for dental check-ups because of the NHS crisis.
Stuart Woodmansey, from Market Weighton in Yorkshire, claims he hasn’t been able to get an appointment ‘for years’.
Meanwhile, his Brazilian-born wife Kedma, who moved to Britain in 2017, can’t even register herself or their son Jacob with a local NHS dentist.
It means they have no option but to combine trips to see Mrs Woodmansey’s family in Sao Paulo with check-ups.
Security consultant Mr Woodmansey said it works out ‘much cheaper’ than paying privately, despite flights costing up to £700 per person.
It comes amid an NHS dentistry crisis on the back of the Covid pandemic which has left desperate patients resorting to ‘DIY’ procedures.
Stuart Woodmansey, from Market Weighton in Yorkshire, claims he hasn’t been able to get an appointment ‘for years’. Meanwhile, his Brazilian-born wife Kedma, who moved to Britain in 2017, can’t even register herself or their son Jacob with a local NHS dentist
It means they have no option but to combine trips to see Mrs Woodmansey’s family in Sao Paulo with check-ups
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 surgeries say it is no longer financially viable to offer NHS procedures, leading to an ‘exodus’ of dentists into the private sector when Covid hit.
Speaking of his ordeal, Mr Woodmansey told The Sun: ‘I can’t get an appointment in our area. I’ve been trying for years.
‘I have to go in Brazil when we’re there on holiday.’
Mr Woodmansey, 43, hasn’t had a check-up since before the pandemic, after Covid ruined the travel plans of millions.
‘After you’ve paid for a flight, about £600 to £700, the dentist in Brazil only charges around £50 a visit.
Speaking of his ordeal, Mr Woodmansey said: ‘I can’t get an appointment in our area. I’ve been trying for years.’ Pictured with his wife
Mrs Woodmansey also tried registering for 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 their lowest level ever last year
Official health service data, which records the number of adults seen by NHS dentists in 24 month periods shows the drastic decline in the number of people seeing a dentist since the pandemic. While people struggled to access NHS dentistry services before Covid 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 charge bands:
Band 1: £23.80
Covers an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, a scale and polish, and planning for further treatment.
Band 2: £65.20
Covers all treatment included in Band 1, plus additional treatment, such as fillings, root canal treatment and removing teeth (extractions).
Band 3: £282.80
Covers all treatment included in Bands 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges.
For comparison, check-ups can cost between £20 and £120 at private dentists, according to Which?.
Dentures and bridges can also cost up to £2,520, the consumer watchdog says.
‘It works out much cheaper than £1,000 for private treatment here.’
Mrs Woodmansey also tried registering for the dentist during the pandemic, but was told they ‘couldn’t take’ new patients.
Dental surgeries do not always have capacity to take on new patients, the NHS says.
It means patients may have to join waiting lists, find a different dentist who is taking on, or pay to be seen privately.
NHS patients in England currently pay £23.80 for a check-up — but getting crowns, dentures and bridges can cost up to £282.80.
Private consultations can cost up to £120, while similar procedures can come with a fee of up to £2,500, according to Which?.
Last week it was revealed that the Woodmansey’s aren’t alone in their plight. Two in five people struggle to see an NHS dentist.
Meanwhile, residents in Somerset are unable to register as new NHS dentist patients for routine care.
There has been a mass exodus of NHS dentists in England in the last year, which has left the health service with its smallest workforce in a decade.
Two thirds of dentists said they are planning to reduce their NHS commitment, with one third planning to go fully private in the next year.
It has created ‘dental deserts’ across the country, where there is almost no chance of ever seeing an NHS dentist for routine care.
Campaign groups warn patients are facing a ‘twin crisis’ of access and affordability, which could widen inequalities — despite the Government’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda.