NEW figures have revealed there are nearly 2,000 people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire for every dentist amid warning about ‘dental deserts’ in the UK.

The new data sourced from NHS Digital’s dental statistics show that in 2021/22 there were around 1,979 patients per dentist – a 3.15 per cent increase since 2019.

Out of 104 local areas in England, 65 have seen the number of people per dentist rise since 2019, the figures indicate.

Nationally there are an average of 2,330 people per NHS dentist in England.

NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire said across the two countries, recruitment activity has taken place.

Data commissioned by the Liberal Democrats found there are as many as 3,000 people per NHS dentist in some English areas.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “The staggering rise in dental deserts has left far too many people struggling to get an NHS dental appointment.

“It is heartbreaking that people are being left waiting in pain for months or even years for the dental care they need.

“Many are being forced to shell out thousands of pounds on private dental care, while some are even turning in desperation to DIY dentistry.”

A spokesperson for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire said: “Across Herefordshire and Worcestershire, we want to recruit more dentists and dental staff for NHS services and have undertaken recruitment activity with the NHS talent academy and in the dental media to encourage more to the region.

“We have also run a Golden Hello scheme offering an incentive to become an NHS dentist in Herefordshire.

“In Hereford, we currently have an ongoing procurement to provide additional NHS contracts.

“We are also working with providers to increase access, working with local authorities to strengthen the prevention of dental disease by supporting oral health improvement and have an Oral Health Improvement team in Herefordshire supporting young children and schools.

“Urgent treatment is also available for patients without a regular NHS dentist.”