Access to NHS Dentists

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:46 pm on 12th September 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Judith Cummins Judith Cummins Opposition Whip (Commons) 10:46 pm, 12th September 2017

It is an absolute disgrace.

In the meantime, Ms Akhtar’s son had suffered chronic pain. His adult teeth had grown over the top of his milk teeth. I can only imagine the distress in having to watch your child facing chronic pain day in, day out, powerless and abandoned.

Low-income families face a double whammy: they are unable to find local NHS dentists with open lists, and more to the point, they are unable to afford the high cost of private treatment. That double whammy has left working-class areas hardest hit. Over the past seven years, the Government’s unspoken policy has been to force dental practices to rely increasingly on patient fees, and, more insidiously, to force dental practices to rely even more on patients who pay privately. Revenue from patient charges has grown by 66% over the last decade and totalled £783 million in 2016-17. Meanwhile, direct state investment has been in steady decline.

The British Dental Association analysis also reveals that the Government have only commissioned enough dentistry to treat around half the adult population. That is an absolute disgrace.