Due to lack of access to dental care, Britons are pulling out their teeth!

In the United Kingdom, unable to find an appointment with the dentist, a 63-year-old woman has just pulled out 12 teeth herself. An increasingly frequent practice, especially in the most modest households.



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Caroline Pursey, 63, pulled out 12 teeth to end her suffering, she testified in an ITV NEWS report (ITV NEWS SCREENSHOT)

Caroline Pursey’s toothless and yellowed smile bears witness to this. His story, broadcast on February 7, 2024 by the British channel ITV NEWS, shook the country. Caroline is 63 years old, she lives on the RSA in a small town in the north-east of England. A few weeks ago, because she had toothache, she contacted her dentist, an approved practitioner, very low rates and well reimbursed. But she discovers that he fell out of the system, not paying enough. He now only takes patients on a private plan with fee overruns.

Caroline, who is not rolling in gold, tries other firms, same answer. Either it’s the private sector, and they ask her for several thousand pounds sterling, or for the public sector, she waits three years on the waiting list. Except that his pain becomes unbearable. Caroline takes a pair of pliers from her DIY cupboard and one by one, she pulls out her teeth, 12 teeth in total, to put an end to her suffering. It’s not Charles Dickens, it’s 21st century England, a G7 member country.

Caroline Pursey, 62, testified on a British channel that she had to pull out 12 teeth due to lack of access to care.  (Dailymotion screenshot)

The “Do It Yourself” phenomenon

It is a phenomenon born during the confinements of the Covid period which is gaining momentum. THE “Do it Yourself”, do it yourself, and we’re not talking about home decor. Social networks are full of testimonies of people who arrive at the hospital with an overdose of painkillers, septicemia which is triggered by an abscess or oral cancer treated with herbal teas.

The less well off open a loan or take advantage of a trip abroad to have a molar extracted. For three years, the campaign “Toothless in England”, the toothless in England, which will bring back memories to François Hollande, campaigns for every Briton to have access to an approved dentist without having to travel hundreds of kilometers.

A recovery plan deemed insufficient

If we got to this point, it’s because of general crisis of the NHS, the British public health system, exhausted by 15 years of austerity and also a specific reform for dentists which in 2006 considerably lowered fee-for-service. The consequence, according to the British Dental Association, is that in 2022, 90% of dentists no longer accepted new patients at regulated rates, considered not profitable enough. A two-tier system has been put in place and the health of the poorest is deteriorating. In December, a report from a think tank, The Nuffield Trust, explained that dental services were “at an almost terminal stage”.

At the beginning of February, the government announced a recovery plan with the payment of a bonus to dentists for each new patient registered in their appointment book, with budgets of up to 230 million euros. Amounts considered insufficient by professionals to resolve this crisis. Inadmissible in one of the G7 countries.

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