Luke Charters, Labour’s candidate for the currently Conservative constituency, noted that the Labour policy was discussed in parliament on Tuesday. Charters stressed that the plan would lead to an additional 700,000 urgent dentistry appointments, offer incentives to recruit dentists to areas with the most need, and involve reforms to dental contracts to strengthen the service in the long term.
According to Charters, new figures reveal that out of 18 dental surgeries that have provided recent updates in York, 17 are not accepting new adult patients. He added, “Patients in York Outer are finding it impossible to see a dentist, with some having to resort to DIY dentistry. Yet when the chance came to do something about it, Julian Sturdy voted against.”
Charters also stated, “The Conservatives think that people should be happy with the poor service we have today. Another five years of the Conservatives will see NHS dentistry gone for good. Labour has a plan to rescue NHS dentistry from this crisis and get patients seen on time again.”
York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell voted in favor of the policy, which Labour says will be funded by abolishing the non-domiciled tax status and will cost £110m.
Maskell said, “As another dental practice in York turns private, more patients are left without the dental care they need. The oral health of our country is in sharp decline with 169 children a day having their teeth extracted, the biggest reason why children attend the NHS, while adults are left for years on waiting lists or denied access to them and 1 in 10 attempting DIY Dentistry.”
In the debate, launched by Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting, MPs of all parties spoke of the problems faced by people seeking dental care.
Among them, Selby MP Keir Mather, who told the house of a constituent who had to pull out a daughter’s tooth as dental provision is so poor locally, and of army veterans unable to find dentists who will register them.
Julian Sturdy emphasized that the pandemic had affected dental services, with seven million fewer patients seen in 2021 and 2021.
Sturdy continued, “Rather than try to point score, I have focussed my energy on action and dedicated much of the last year focussing on addressing the local shortfalls in NHS dentistry. I hosted a meeting between the Intergrated Care Board who are in charge of tendering NHS services and the Minister for Primary Health, visited a number of dental practices to discuss challenges and potential solutions, chaired a national conference panel on access to NHS dentistry, and applied three times for a Westminster Hall debate on access to NHS dentistry in York and North Yorkshire.
Mr Sturdy added, “I will continue my efforts on behalf of constituents and will be inviting local dentists to join me for a roundtable discussion with the Minister so York can be part of the solution, not just used for political point scoring.”
In the Westminster debate, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins told MPs she was “determined to fix these issues” with NHS dentistry “so that anyone who needs to can always see an NHS dentist no matter where they live in the country” and that Labour’s plans to axe the non-dom status could hit the number of foreign workers recruited into the NHS.