The British Medical Association (BMA) has said that people with dental problems should not seek treatment from their GP.
The organisation spoke out after Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said patients who were finding it difficult to see an NHS dentist should consult their doctor.
Mr Bradshaw made the claims on the Today programme on Radio 4 following media reports of patients struggling to access NHS dentistry and even treating themselves.
Mr Bradshaw said: “If people are in pain or need urgent treatment, they should go either to their GP or to their primary care trust and demand what is now their right.”
Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA’s GPs Committee, said: “The Health Minister needs to correct that statement.
“Family doctors are not qualified as dentists and cannot pick up the pieces if there are not enough NHS dentists to go round.
“The Government is constantly talking about increased access to general practice. Sending patients on a wild goose chase isn’t going to help an already overworked service. Patients should contact their primary care trust for help.”
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“The difference between GP primary care services and dentistry seems to have missed the minister’s radar. I agree that sending them on a wild goose chase is absurd. Perhaps the PCT should make themselves available out of hours to help!”- Name and address supplied