Manx Care are considering changing their eligibility criteria for dental care on the island.

This comes after a 14% increase in the NHS dental care waiting list over the last six months.

The latest figures from the healthcare provider show there are almost 4,000 Manx residents waiting to be assigned to an NHS dentist.

One dental provider, which sees around 13 percent of Manx Care's patients, is handing back its contract in November.

When asked how specifically the criteria would change, a spokesperson for Manx Care said: 'I'm afraid there is no information on that at this stage.

'Changing the eligibility criteria is one of the options that Manx Care will be discussing with the Department of Health and Social Care to improve access to NHS funded dental services.'

Speaking at Manx Care's September board meeting, director of operations Oliver Radford said: 'A business case has gone to the Department of Health and Social Care seeking to remedy the situation.

'Changes to charges and eligibility criteria have to be looked at as potential options.'

Non-executive director Nigel Wood said: 'This has been on our agenda for quite some time now, and I'm really quite concerned about it.

'I realise there are some issues with the contracts and I know that's sensitive, but it would be good to know if there is an estimated time for this to be fixed.

'The situation seems to be getting worse rather than better. Dental health and our access to it is absolutely key for our population.'

The chief executive officer of Manx Care, Teresa Cope, said: 'The discussions we've had more recently probably suggest that the contractual framework [of dentistry services on the island] does need overhauling.

'We know that quite a high proportion of dental contractors are under-delivering against their contracts. They have their own capacity constraints and they're not delivering against the contract that we've put in place with them.

'We're getting to the point where big practices are handing back their contracts because they haven't got the staff to be able to deliver, and this is a sign that we need to think very differently about how we deliver this activity for the island.'