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City MP challenges new Health Secretary on Portsmouth Dentistry and GP provision

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has written an open letter to new health Secretary Sajid Javid to raise ongoing concerns around NHS GP and dentistry provision.

In the letter, Mr Morgan said: “The inevitable backlog of non-Covid appointments are placing an understandable strain on services, but the closure of several practices in the last few years means staff are increasingly having to do more, with less.”

He highlighted that the closure of the Guildhall Walk Practice later this year was likely to increase pressure on Southsea Medical Centre, Somerstown and the University Surgery.

He also highlighted the persistent challenges Portsmouth people are facing in accessing dental treatment, citing shocking local statistics.

The letter reads: “Figures from NHS Digital suggest only 39% of adults in Portsmouth had seen an NHS dentist in the 2 years up to 31 December 2020, compared to 45% across England. Just 26% of Portsmouth children have seen an NHS dentist in the last 12 months, compared to a national figure of 30%, despite those appointments being free on the NHS.”

The letter is the latest in a string of actions the City MP has taken locally and in Parliament on these issues.

In January this year, Stephen warned Health Ministers of a crisis in NHS dentistry in a speech in the House of Commons and called on the government to drop damaging activity targets.

The same month saw him host a summit with local dentists, the Chair of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Dental Committee and Portsmouth Healthwatch, to hear directly from practitioners and patients.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

“GP and dental services are the backbone of preventative public healthcare and this must be a priority as we emerge from the pandemic.

“Yet too many are struggling to find appointments and I am increasingly concerned that we are sleepwalking into generational damage to patient care.

“I am urging the Health Secretary to make sure Portsmouth people receive the very best standards of provision and care.”