The British Dental Association (BDA) has accused Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, the leader of the House, of misleading parliament, after he claimed that NHS dental services were benefitting from the NHS 'catch-up' programme.
In response to calls for a debate on funding and access from Bradford's Judith Cummins MP, Rees-Mogg told the House, "The hon lady will know that there is a very considerable catch-up plan for the NHS, including £5.4 billion over the next six months, but of course during the height of the pandemic the very immediate contact patients had with dentists was thought to be a particularly high risk. Though I know dentists are now very much back to work, and indeed I visited a dentist in my own constituency who are extremely busy working through the backlog and I think we should be grateful to them for the work that they are doing, but the resources are being provided to help with this."
Over 35 million appointments have been lost since lockdown, yet not a penny of the multi-billion pound catch up programme has been allocated to primary care dental services in England, despite this unprecedented backlog.
Ahead of the budget, the BDA joined with Healthwatch England to call for funding to be put in place to facilitate the recovery and pledged rebuild of services after a decade of cuts – a call joined by over 40 MPs led by Yvette Cooper.
News comes as patient groups have coalesced into a national group; Toothless in England launched recently and are campaigning for access to NHS services for all.
Eddie Crouch, BDA chair, said, "Jacob Rees-Mogg has plainly misled the House. Resources aren't being provided to deal with an unprecedented backlog; the facts are, not a penny of the billions pledged to the NHS catch up programme is heading to dentistry.
"The leader of the House has grasped at straws to shut down a debate the treasury don't want to hear. MPs have a right to discuss the future of a service millions depend on."