The NHS Information Centre figures show a 4.3% drop in the number of dental patients seen by the NHS between the two years to 31 March 2006 and two years to 30 June 2008.
This is despite health secretary Alan Johnson’s recent assertion that access to NHS dentistry was improving.
Shadow Conservative health minister Mike Penning said: ‘This is simply unacceptable. Patients have now had to ensure more than two years of a failed dental contract and because of Labour’s complacency access is still continuing to decline.’
Last year health minister Ben Bradshaw said GPs might have to deal with dental work if patients struggled to find an NHS dentist.
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