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“With 1 in 5 Portsmouth children suffering from tooth decay by the time they are 5 years old, we need urgent action”- City MP speaks out after visit to University of Portsmouth Dental Academy

Stephen Morgan MP has visited a state-of-the-art training facility developed in partnership between the University, King’s College London Dental Institute and the National Health Service in his constituency of Portsmouth South.

The visit forms part of a long-running campaign adopted by the MP to increase patient access for all to vital dental services. Mr Morgan has vocally slammed the current Government’s ‘shocking’ record on dental services that has seen 42,000 children admitted to hospital to have multiple teeth removed under anesthetic last year alone.

The city MP spent time both with students about to become the next generation of first-rate dentists and the staff who work clinically in the Dental Academy and across a wide variety of community settings.

Mr Morgan said:

“Access to dental services is vitally important and to use the British Dental Association’s words, we are in crisis.

21 million people have not seen a dentist for over 2 years, around just 50% of dental practices are able to admit new NHS patients and in Portsmouth, the number of children being admitted to hospital for tooth decay has doubled.

With the Government making real term cuts to dentistry of nearly 30% since 2010, more people are finding themselves unable to get treatment which is putting pressure on other NHS services.

It is essential that institutions like the Dental Academy are consulted and discussion begins around how to deal with this issue.”

The key issues discussed by the MP and senior representatives from the Dental Academy were orientated around securing Portsmouth as a national dentistry training hub with even greater national recognition and increasing provision of services to the local community.

Mr Morgan said:

“At a time when dentistry is in crisis, with1 in 5 Portsmouth children suffering from tooth decay by the time they are 5 years old, the work being conducted here is more important than ever.

The top-class dental academy is yet another example of how work done in Portsmouth is not just relevant to our city but to the nation.

The opportunity to spend time with those working to become top rate dentists and the experts responsible for training them gives great insight into the work being conducted here in our city.”

Patient access to dental services has been high on Mr Morgan’s agenda for some time. Earlier this year, following the closure of three dental practices in Portsmouth, Stephen called an urgent snap meeting with NHS England and The British Dental Association.

Mr Morgan said:

“This Government’s incessant will to sell off bits of our NHS and leave it in the hands of companies like Colosseum in Portsmouth, owned by a swiss investment bank, is irresponsible and puts profit before Portsmouth people.

We urgently need a coherent oral health strategy that has patients at the heart of it and is focused on access and prevention, and NHS dentistry that is adequately commissioned and funded.”

Since the crisis with Colosseum dental arose in Mr Morgan’s patch, he has been relentless in his efforts to resolve the issue and secure dental access for all. So far, he has met with senior NHS England officials, the Director of the British Dental Association, grilled the Minister responsible in parliament, written out to the new Minster last week and been out to visit the services for himself.

He remains committed to being a strong national and local voice on all NHS issues.