As we discussed in a previous post, many Americans have limited access to dental care, especially in rural areas where there simply aren’t enough dentists to meet demand. For those who rely on Medicaid to cover treatment costs, finding a dentist can be even more difficult considering low reimbursement rates that discourage dentists from accepting such patients.According to a recent article published by BBC News, many patients across the pond in the U.K. who rely on the country’s National Health Service (NHS) face similar challenges.
In the small town of Aberystwyth, located on the west coast of Wales, residents must travel nearly 90 miles round-trip to visit a dentist who treats NHS patients. For those who can’t afford to pay out of pocket in the first place, taking several hours to travel to a dental appointment during working hours simply isn’t an option.
The British Dental Association claims that the problem is compounded by an out-of-touch NHS contracting model that puts an artificial cap on patient volume while at the same time pulling public funding from areas where practitioners are unable to meet patient treatment targets.
Regardless of what causes the shortage, the end result is the same as it is in parts of the U.S.—patients go without much-needed dental care. An outcome that isn’t good for anyone.