Report 2 (which was a needs assessment document, albeit from 2021) concluded that priorities for action in Dorset were:
- A targeted need for increasing general access to NHS dentistry;
- A need to plan for dental treatments likely to result from an ageing population;
- A need to recruit and retain more dentists working in NHS dentistry;
- A need to address UDA targets not being met under NHS dental contracts; and
- A need to address related health issues from smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity.
The slightly more recent report 1 acknowledges that “a key factor affecting access to NHS dentistry is workforce” and “the lack of dentists in the area undermines the ability of high street practices to meet their contracts”. For some Dorset is not an attractive place to practice, given limited training opportunities (the nearest dental school is at Bristol) and the South West region paying low UDA values. As practice running costs have risen, low UDA values can make NHS provision unviable.
Report 1 says that dentists sometimes leave because of the pressure of working in practices with NHS contracts and the better opportunities in private care. Anecdotally, it also cites more dentists now leaving than arriving from EU countries.