Hundreds of Portsmouth patients were forced to attend A&E due to tooth decay as shortage of NHS dentists bites

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
More than 500 people were forced to attend A&E at QA Hospital in Portsmouth last year due to dental decay.

In 2022/23, 55 patients were seen in A&E with a dental abscess, caused by tooth decay, and 465 with dental caries (the erosion of tooth enamel leading to decay).

As previously reported, Portsmouth as been described as a ‘dental desert’ due to the shortage of NHS dentists.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Labour Party has analysed dental patient data across the UK, which they say reveals an alarming decline of NHS dentistry. Labour’s analysis suggests that 4.75m people across England were denied an appointment with an NHS dentist in the past two years.

520 people in Portsmouth had to go to A&E due to tooth decay in the past year. Picture: Pixabay520 people in Portsmouth had to go to A&E due to tooth decay in the past year. Picture: Pixabay
520 people in Portsmouth had to go to A&E due to tooth decay in the past year. Picture: Pixabay

Figures show millions of people were either told no appointments were available or that the practice they contacted was not taking on new patients.

The inability for patients to access dental healthcare has forced many into A&E departments when their conditions have worsened. Tooth decay is currently the most common reason for children aged six-10 to be admitted to hospital.

In May 2022 The Association of Dental Groups found that Portsmouth had the seventh lowest number of NHS dentists per 100,000 in the country, at 42. And earlier this year a pair of new dentist practices in Portsmouth received 3,000 registration calls in five days from local residents.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A Labour government has pledged to provide an extra 700,000 urgent dentists appointments and reform the NHS dental contract, as part of a package of measures to rescue NHS dentistry.

The plans will cost £111m a year and be funded by abolishing the non-dom tax status, which allows people who live and work in Britain to pay their taxes overseas.

Portsmouth South’s Labour MP Stephen Morgan said: “This is yet another example of a government that has under resourced and underfunded our NHS to the point of crisis.

“Thirteen years of Tory government mismanagement has seen dentists quitting in their droves leaving Portsmouth people living in a dental desert. Through these figures the consequences of dismal local access have been laid bare, with Portsmouth patients being left to suffer. I will continue to take action to ensure everyone in our city can see an NHS dentist, when they need it”.

Mr Morgan’s survey remains available at to share views and concerns on dentistry in Portsmouth.