Lack of NHS dentists ‘jeopardizes government’s equalization program’ – MP

Problems accessing NHS dental services “jeopardize the government’s equalization program,” a Conservative MP warned.

Cott Benton said that voters “struggling to get an appointment with an NHS dentist” are “undermining health inequalities for the most disadvantaged.”

House of Commons leader Mark Spencer insisted the government “understands the challenges we face” and is providing “millions of pounds of investment in our National Health Service”.

It also jeopardizes the government’s equalization program by undermining health inequalities in the most disadvantaged communities.Scott Benton

Speaking during Business Questions, Mr Benton (Blackpool South) said: “Many Blackpool residents struggle to get an appointment with an NHS dentist. This creates serious problems for thousands of my constituents who cannot afford early preventive treatment.

“It also jeopardizes the government’s equalization program by undermining health inequalities for the most disadvantaged.

“Will the leader of the House of Representatives hold a debate in government on how we can best support additional NHS dental services?”

Mr Spencer replied: “Of course I think this is something that deserves discussion, which is why the government is putting millions of pounds into our National Health Service, which of course dentistry is a very important part, and I am sure, as a local champion, he will continue to harass the health department to make sure his constituents get the services they deserve.”

Mr. Benton’s comments were echoed by Labor MPs, with Rachel Maskell (York Central) warning that the current situation is “completely unacceptable.”

She said: “I heard this week that three more NHS dentists are taking their jobs back to the NHS and going into private hands in York City. We now have almost no NHS dentists in the city, and people not only travel many miles, but wait for years to see a dentist.

“This is completely unacceptable and the pace at which the government is doing this is also unacceptable, so we can make an urgent statement about NHS dentistry because our constituents can’t wait and our country’s oral health is in deep decline.”

Mr Spencer responded: “That is why we are investing these huge sums in our NHS to make sure we can handle the problems within the NHS.

“She has decided not to support this investment, it is a huge investment that we are making along with the upcoming reforms.”

Mary Kelly Foy of the Labor Party (City of Durham) also warned of “an exodus of dentists into the private sector”.

One voter told me, “I can’t afford private treatment, so what can I do?”Mary Kelly Foy

She said: “Many voters in the city of Durham are unable to register with an NHS dentist, while those who have registered have a really hard time accessing one due to the exodus of dentists to the private sector.

“One of the voters said to me: “I can’t afford private treatment, so what can I do?” and the British Dental Association has warned that this is how NHS dentistry will die.

“Does the House Leader agree with me that it is simply unacceptable that people in Durham cannot afford access to dental services, and can I support the call for a discussion on the affordability and inequity of NHS dentistry?”

Mr Spencer responded: “I think I’m right in saying there’s an NHS Dental Debate next week, so I hope (she) takes the opportunity to take part in that debate… The government understands the challenges we’re facing. That is why we are investing huge sums of money in support of our National Health Service and I look forward to listening to this debate next week.”