Local Lib Dems Claim ‘Crisis’ in NHS Dentistry

Local Liberal Democrats have slammed the Government’s record on dentistry after the release of a damning survey which revealed that 6% of those left without a dentist had resorted to pulling out their own teeth.

The Dentistry Watch survey, which was conducted by the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, also revealed that a third of those who were not registered with a dentist claimed that there were no surgeries nearby, whilst 20% of those with NHS dentists had been forced to refuse treatment because of the cost.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Laura Sheppard (Cann Hall) met with the party’s Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb MP, to discuss the crisis during the recent Party Conference in Bournemouth, and she was quick to express her concern at the ongoing problems patients are facing.

Cllr Sheppard said:

“Many residents have told me of the difficulties they are having with accessing an NHS dentist.

“Last year the government promised to sort out the lack of NHS dentistry, which has been a real concern for those with dental health problems.  A new contract was introduced for dentists in April 2006 that was meant to address many of these issues.

“But the reality is that the contract has failed to stop the decline in NHS dentistry.  One in twelve dentists have actually opted out of the NHS since the contract came in.”

Liberal Democrats are leading the call for reforms to be introduced to the contract so that dentists are encouraged to stay in the NHS.

Commenting on the Dentistry Watch survey, Norman Lamb MP said:

“The Government is in denial about the crisis in the system. Ministers must admit the failings of the contract and admit the case for a thorough and urgent review of the system.

“The failure to improve access to NHS dentistry is yet another broken promise by this Government, which has lost all credibility on health issues.

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