Chi Onwurah calls for Labour’s Dentistry Rescue Plan as figures show none of Newcastle Central surgeries are accepting new adult patients
Labour will introduce a dentistry rescue plan so patients can get an NHS dentist again, as new analysis reveals the overwhelming majority of practices have shut their doors to new patients.
Of the 14 dental surgeries that provided a recent update in Newcastle Central, none are accepting new adult patients. This was worse than the regional average, with 96% of the 253 surgeries that provided recent updates in the North East not accepting any new adult patients.
It was also worse than the national average, with 82.8% of the 4969 surgeries that provided recent updates in the UK not accepting new adult patients.
Collapse of NHS dentistry
The collapse of NHS dentistry has left millions of patients unable to get an appointment when they need one. Analysis of patient survey data suggests that last year, 4.75 million people were either told there were no appointments available or the practice wasn’t taking on new patients, when they last tried to book an appointment.
Healthwatch England has reported horror stories of people forced to pull their own teeth out, with 1 in 10 Brits claiming to have attempted their own dental work.
What will Labour do?
Labour is promising to take immediate action to provide care for those in most urgent need, and long-term reform to restore NHS dentistry to all who need it. The party’s plans include:
• Funding NHS dental practices to provide 700,000 more urgent appointments, for patients in need of things like fillings and root canal.
• Incentives for new dentists to work in areas with the greatest need, to tackle the emergence of ‘dental deserts’ where no NHS dentists are taking on new patients.
• Supervised toothbrushing in schools for 3-5 year olds, targeted at the areas with highest childhood tooth decay
• Reform the dental contract to rebuild the service in the long-run, so NHS dentistry is there for all who need it
The plans will cost £111 million a year in total and be funded by abolishing the non-dom tax status, which allows people who live and work in Britain to pay their taxes overseas.
Chi Onwurah MP said:
“The Conservatives have left NHS dentistry to wither on the vine, and now the service is barely worthy of the name. Patients in the North East are told to go without or do it themselves, with DIY dentistry now shockingly common in Tory Britain.
“The slow death of dentistry is the Ghost of Christmas Future for the NHS, if the Conservatives are given a fifth term: those who can afford it going private and those who can’t left with a poor service for poor people.
“Labour has a fully-costed plan to rescue NHS dentistry by gripping the immediate crisis and reforming the service in the long-term. We will provide 700,000 urgent appointments and recruit new dentists to the areas most in need, paid for by abolishing the non-dom tax status.”
This article is based on a press release from the office of Chi Onwurah MP