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Patient whose life was saved by routine dental check-up issues dire warning about the state of the NHS

Vaseline 2 months ago

Pensioner Tony Page was referred to hospital when a routine check revealed an abnormality – now he warns the collapse of NHS dentistry could cost lives

Oral cancer patient Tony Page is ‘alarmed’ by the state of NHS dentistry

An oral cancer patient whose life was saved by a dental check is warning that the collapse of NHS access to dentists is costing lives.

Tony Page, 73, was referred to hospital in 2014 after his dentist noticed an abnormality in his mouth.

A hospital diagnosis soon followed. Within six weeks, cancerous parts of his tongue and jaw had been removed. But now the availability of NHS dentists near Tony’s home has disappeared. Tony, from Folkestone, Kent, said: “You can’t find an NHS dentist within 50 miles. Some people could die from the lack of availability.

“It also costs the NHS more money… because later detection is likely to lead to more extensive surgery, worse outcomes and longer hospital stays.”

Tony Page before his surgery

In Britain, around 3,000 people die from oral cancer every year and 9,000 are diagnosed with it. Early detection results in a 90% survival rate, which drops to 50% after later diagnosis.

Eddie Crouch, chairman of the British Dental Association, warned: “Oral cancer already claims more lives than car accidents. The numbers will skyrocket if ministers continue to sleep at the wheel.”

The Mirror is campaigning for a return of the right to an NHS dentist for everyone – as most are no longer accepting new patients. Our online petition on the 38 Degrees platform, in partnership with the British Dental Association, has now reached 220,000 signatures.