Open letter from surgeons calls for end to “Dental Care Lottery” – The Telegraph, 6th April 2015

In an open letter to The Telegraph, a group of prominent surgeons, including Saving Faces’ Iain Hutchison, hit out against the “postcode lottery” head and neck patients are subjected to when attempting to access treatment.

Below is the letter in full (from

Dental care lottery

SIR – Dentists, surgeons and patients are concerned that there continues to be a postcode lottery of care for specialist dental treatment on the NHS.

We are aware that in some parts of the country, patients with head and neck cancer, traumatic injuries and disfigurement of the face and mouth do not have access to dental implant treatment, whereas in other areas this is a standard treatment.

For affected patients, dental implants can make all the difference to speaking clearly, eating normally, returning to work and recovering from the psychological impact of their conditions. The question is not one of aesthetics but of need.

Existing clinical guidelines should be made clearer and applied consistently so that every patient who requires treatment is assessed by a consultant in restorative dentistry and receives the care needed, regardless of where they live. We are keen to work with NHS England to find a solution for those patients who are denied essential dental care, including implants.

Professor Nigel Hunt
Dean, Faculty of Dental Surgery
Royal College of Surgeons of England
Ulpee Darbar
Chairman, Restorative Dentistry UK
Stewart Barclay
Honorary Secretary, Restorative Dentistry UK
Mr Peter Briggs
President, British Society of Prosthodontics
Dr Trevor W Ferguson
Dean, Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK)
Royal College of Surgeons of England
Paul Pracy
President, British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists
Ken Hemmings
President, British Society for Restorative Dentistry
Mike Davidson
Chairman, British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Dr James Partridge
Chief Executive, Changing Faces
Serpil Djemal
Chairwoman, Dental Trauma UK
Professor Iain Hutchison
Honorary Chief Executive, Saving Faces-The Facial Surgery Research Foundation
Director, The National Facial Oral and Oculoplastic Research Centre