MP says the NHS dental crisis is a ‘national scandal’

07 November 2023

Simon Lightwood, MP for Wakefield, has renewed his calls to the government to tackle the crisis in dentistry.

The ‘Save Wakefield’s smiles’ campaign was launched in February 2023 in an effort to highlight the lack of dental care in the area. It followed research from Simon’s office, which showed no practices in the constituency were accepting new NHS patients.

According to the Wakefield Express, 25 per cent of five-year-olds in Wakefield have visible tooth decay.

Simon explained that he had spoken to one resident who had made more than “200 calls to NHS dentists within around 50 miles of Wakefield trying to register”. None of the practices were able to take on new patients.

Speaking to the local news outlet, Simon said, “The crisis in NHS dentistry is a national scandal. Successive Conservative governments have presided over 13 years of underfunding of NHS dentistry.

“It’s a damning indictment on the Tories that the most common reason children between six and 10 go to hospital is due to tooth decay.

“People in Wakefield, Horbury and Ossett have been left to sink or swim with no plan from this government on how to turn it around.

“Labour’s plan will address the immediate crisis and target the areas most in need. We will also, like with the rest of our NHS plan, focus more resources on prevention.

"We will give our youngest generation access to supervised toothbrushing in schools. Labour will make sure that everyone who needs an NHS dentist can get one.”