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Dentist Shortage Forces School to Call in a Charity

Pupils unable to find a local NHS dentist to relieve their excruciating tooth pain have been treated at their school by a charity.

Children at Trinity Academy Grammar in West Yorkshire have been left in tears during lessons and taken out of class to receive pain relief, staff said. As more students suffered, the school called upon volunteer dentists who usually work in developing countries.

The government said it had put an extra £50m into NHS dental services.

The head teacher of the school started to notice children with concerning dental issues and spoke to the Local Authority who said that there was a shortage of local NHS dentists taking on patients. The school was put in touch with Dentaid, a dental charity that normally works with developing countries.

A mobile clinic was brought to the school and volunteer dentists found about one in 10 of its 900 pupils needed treatment for conditions such as decay, cracked teeth and abscesses.

Children's learning was significantly affected by the poor health issues of tooth decay. An additional issue was that teachers were having to take children to hospital for treatment which had an impact of learning.

The British Dental Association said the situation at Trinity Academy showed that NHS dentistry was on its "last legs" and urged the government to "pick up the pace on the reform".

Chairman Eddie Crouch said: "We salute these volunteers, but this isn't the Victorian era.

"A wealthy 21st Century nation shouldn't be relying on charities to provide basic healthcare to our children."

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Article correct at time of publication 13.5.22.


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