'Crisis in NHS dentistry is a national scandal' Simon Lightwood MP calls for more action
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Speaking on the eve of the Labour Party conference, Mr Starmer pledged that a Labour Government will provide an extra 700,000 urgent dentist appointments.
He said Labour would also reform the NHS dental contract to increase dentist retention as well as a campaign of supervised toothbrushing in schools for three to five-year-olds and other measures focused on prevention.
Research by Mr Lightwood’s office showed that in February 2023, no practice in the Wakefield constituency was admitting new NHS patients.
Earlier this year, Mr Lightwood used his very first Prime Minister’s Question as the MP for Wakefield to highlight the plight of one of his constituents whose six-year-old daughter was consistently crying in pain due to her teeth.
Across Wakefield over 25 per cent of five-year olds have visible tooth decay.
Mr Lightwood said that this type of story is becoming the norm, with another resident saying he has made more than 200 calls to NHS dentists within around 50 miles of Wakefield trying to register, with all saying they are not taking on new patients.
Mr Lightwood said: “The crisis in NHS dentistry is a national scandal. Successive Conservative Governments have presided over 13 years of underfunding of NHS dentistry.
“It’s a damning indictment on the Tories that the most common reason children between six and 10 go to hospital is due to tooth decay.
“People in Wakefield, Horbury and Ossett have been left to sink or swim with no plan from this government on how to turn it around.
“Labour’s plan will address the immediate crisis and target the areas most in need. We will also, like with the rest of our NHS plan, focus more resources on prevention.
"We will give our youngest generation access to supervised toothbrushing in schools. Labour will make sure that everyone who needs an NHS dentist can get one.”