10th August 2023
Update on the Campaign to Improve NHS Dentistry Access
My team and I are acutely aware of the ongoing lack of dentists in the Worthing area.
Constituents write, almost daily, concerned with the lack of available NHS Dentists locally. Some resort to visiting A&E or attempting DIY-procedures.
We are in frequent contact with NHS Sussex about this issue and actively press to restore vital levels and provisions of service. It is unsatisfactory that levels have not significantly recovered since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, I had a meeting with the dentistry Minister on this very matter during which we discussed the urgent action required to address this issue and the long-term course of action that needs to be enacted to prevent it from happening again.
There is no easy or fast solution.
At the end of 2022, I was in touch with the General Dental Council (GDC) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to request speedier processes to verify overseas dentists’ credentials and any CQC assessments of new dentist practices awaiting their approval. The Department for Health and Social Care has confirmed that it is currently working with the GDC on legislative proposals to allow it greater flexibility to expand the registration routes open to international applicants.
I have submitted a number of Written Questions in Parliament and have ongoing meetings with the British Dental Association (BDA) to discuss what might be needed and how he can support all efforts to increase capacity for NHS dentists. More recently, I signed a cross-party letter prepared by the BDA for submission to the Treasury to request more funding for dentistry.
I am grateful to our local Dentists and practises. They are aware of the issues and already work really hard and intensively to do what they can. For many, it is almost impossible.
With representatives from the British Dental Association, we have discussed how the dental contract provisions continue to be ineffective and unfair to many dentists. I have continued to relay this to senior Ministers in the Department for Health and Social Care.
We understand access to emergency dental help has improved somewhat in recent months and also that others who have contacted us have had some success locating an NHS dentist – most recently one in Brighton.
Please do see this website for further information: https://www.sussex.ics.nhs.uk/your-care/local-nhs-services/nhs-dentistry-in-sussex/
If you are unsuccessful please kindly let us know and we will contact NHS Sussex directly on your behalf to raise the issue.
Let us try and bring everyone together with the necessary urgent approach so that we can expect significant improvement to the present severe concerns.