Responding to data from the Liberal Democrat Party showing more than 100,000 children have been admitted to hospital with rotting teeth since 2018 Sarah Walter, director of the NHS Confederation’s ICS Network, said:
“The fact that so many children are being admitted to hospital with tooth decay is very saddening and highlights the historic lack of investment and decline in NHS dentist numbers over the last decade.
“Improving access to dental services is a priority for NHS leaders, who would welcome a focus on children and community dentistry services which serve many of the most vulnerable in our communities. But things will not get better overnight, with integrated care systems (ICS) only delegated funding and responsibility for primary dental services last April.
"Some ICSs are doing incredible work to improve access to care and treat more patients. But efforts to tackle the problems have been undermined by a number of issues including the cost of industrial action, inflation and the cost of living crisis.
“While ICSs and providers will continue to do their best, they are struggling to invest in new schemes and there is little doubt that additional funding will be needed to boost capacity and improve children’s oral health.”