Many will know of my longstanding campaign to improve access to NHS Dentistry locally and nationally. There have been positive steps forward in recent year and we have brought attention to an issue affecting many yet overlooked too much in the past.
Despite all best efforts to date, the problems persist and NHS dental care remains a critical issue here in Worthing and Arun as well as across the UK.
I was able to arrange a one-to-one meeting on NHS Dentistry with Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, Minister for Primary Care, Start for Life and Public Health. During the meeting, I raised the sensible suggestions of the British Dental Association with whom I have worked closely over recent years.
For too long, especially in West Sussex, there has been inadequate dental recovery from Covid.
Those I serve need proper care. Many do have access to good dentistry; too many do not. In every community, we have to put right the things that are wrong.
Reflecting on the meeting, we can expect positive announcements soon.
We know this is not simply about a shortage of dentists in the UK. A major aspect is long overdue reforms needed to the contract terms for NHS dentists. In the past year, the government has been working to amend these and revised terms were presented but rejected by dentists in recent months. The terms remain under active government review and all hope that dentists and the government will soon reach agreement.
Another factor contributing to the problem is the unacceptable delays to the processing of overseas dentists’ credentials so that they can work in the UK. The current laws need to change and work is underway to do so. The change can’t happen fast enough.
I remain actively committed to taking any and every opportunity to support the restoration of NHS dental health in the UK.