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Government’s dentistry plan won’t halt exodus of dentists leaving the NHS says Portsmouth MP

By 7 February 2024No Comments

City MP Stephen Morgan has said the government’s dentistry ‘recovery plan’ will do little to stop the exodus of dentists leaving the NHS and get Portsmouth patients seen on time once again.

Mr Morgan said that after 14 years in power, the government’s plan does at least acknowledge the crisis the Conservatives have created in NHS dentistry.

However, Mr Morgan said that the plan won’t make the service fit for the future and doesn’t reform the dentist’s contract which is needed to recruit and retain the NHS dentists Portsmouth needs.

Recent British Dental Association (BDA) analysis revealed how this pain and distress continues to impact Portsmouth people, with only 36.4% of children seen by an NHS dentist and just 31.5% of adults.

The BDA said the government’s ‘recovery plan’ is not worthy of the title and that the £200m pledged by the government is less than half of the underspends in the budget expected this year, leaving no new money for the promised new patient premium.

Labour will put an end to the NHS dentistry crisis. Labour will:

  • provide an extra 700,000 urgent dental appointments and reform the NHS dental contract
  • offer incentives for new dentists to work in areas with the greatest need, so that those who need an appointment will be able to get one.
  • introduce supervised toothbrushing in schools for 3-5 year olds, targeted at the areas with highest childhood tooth decay
  • shift the focus to prevention, so that in the long term, everyone who needs NHS dentistry can access it

The Prime Minister’s long-awaited proposals have been criticised for failing to ringfence funding for the dental sector and reform the NHS dentistry contract, which means millions across the country will continue to struggle to access care.

Responding to the government’s leaked Dentistry Recovery Plan, Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan said:

“After 14 years in power, the government has at least finally acknowledged the crisis it has created in NHS dentistry.

“However, this plan does nothing to tackle the exodus of dentists leaving the NHS and to ensure people in Portsmouth are able to get the appointments they need.

“Only Labour’s plan to provide an extra 700,000 urgent dentist appointments and reform the NHS dental contract will rescue NHS dentistry and give patients the service they deserve.”

Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:

“After 14 years of Conservative neglect, patients are desperately queuing around the block to see a dentist, literally pulling their own teeth out, and tooth decay is the number one reason for 6–10-year-olds being admitted to hospital.

“The Conservatives are only promising to do something about it now there’s an election coming. By adopting Labour’s proposals for recruitment and supervised toothbrushing, they are finally admitting that they are out of ideas of their own.

“It will be left to the next Labour government to rescue NHS dentistry and get patients seen on time once again.”

Mr Morgan is spending time on the frontline in our city’s health and social care services to hear first-hand the impact of the crisis in NHS dentistry and the dental desert Portsmouth has become. He has launched his own dental survey to hear concerns and raised the issue frequently in Parliament.

The dental survey is available for completion at: