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Dentistry plan 'simply inadequate' for scale of problem, says Judith

Judith has criticised the Government’s plan on NHS dentistry, warning that millions would still be left without an NHS dentist.


Revealing the Government’s ‘NHS Dental Recovery Plan’, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins MP yesterday announced a series of measures to boost NHS Dentistry, including additional help for rural areas.


Judith has repeatedly called for action to improve access to NHS dentistry in Bradford, as figures show a shocking data 98% of Bradford dentists are not accepting new NHS patients.


Questioning the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care following the announcement, Judith pointed out that many proposals, such as wider rollout of supervised school toothbrushing - which is already happening in Bradford -reflected long-standing Labour proposals, saying:


“This plan mirrors many of my ideas over the years, and indeed much within Labour’s plan.”


“However, the government says these recovery plans will provide care for up to 2.5m people. Meanwhile their own data shows that 12m people in England have unmet dentistry needs – which would still leave around 9.5 million people without a dentist.”


Judith highlighted how people in desperate need of NHS dentistry services will still miss out. She shared the case of Beverley, who was informed that her dentist was no longer accepting NHS patients.


Judith told the Health Secretary that her constituent Beverley had contacted her as the drugs she needs to take to treat her bone condition have had side effects:


“Beverley now requires a check-up every three months after four of her teeth have decayed to such an extent that they need to be extracted. She has been with the same dentist for 50 years, but has just been told that her dentist is going fully private – leaving her without an NHS dentist.”


“Can the Minister guarantee that, under these plans, people like Beverley will be able to access an NHS dentist?”


Responding, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins MP did not offer assurances, instead saying dentists must be asked to ‘do their bit’:


“I appreciate the hon. lady’s point about retention, which we are looking to address.”


“But we all acknowledge that dentists are independent contractors, so we must ask them to do their bit and help our NHS out.”


Speaking afterwards, Judith said:


“For years, I have raised the lack of access to NHS dentistry that people in Bradford face. Today, after years of waiting for a dental plan, the Secretary of State for Health could not even guarantee that my constituents who have acute need and absolutely need to see a dentist will be able to access an NHS dentist.”


Judith said a long-term plan was needed to reverse the damage in NHS dentistry:


“This plan is simply inadequate to tackle the scale of the problem.”


“NHS dentistry needs fundamental reform to ensure that it can serve everyone from the cradle to the grave.”

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