The lack of available NHS dentists was discussed recently during the Prime Minster’s Questions (PMQs).
Labour MP for Stockport Navendu Mishra told the House that a number of people in his constituency had contacted him ‘about the lack of NHS dentists and the prohibitive cost of private dental treatment. Just a few weeks ago, one constituent contacted me and said, ‘I work full-time as a mental and support worker. I am on minimum wage and can barely afford the reduced NHS dental costs. In the past three months I have had to go to the emergency dentist three times for the same tooth – with the infection initially getting so bad that I collapsed at work. The problem is not being dealt with because you need a second appointment, which isn’t classed as an emergency, and thus needs your regular dentist.’ Does the prime minister agree that stories like this amount to nothing less than a national scandal, and what steps will he take to reduce the backlog for NHS dental appointments, and further, will h commit to increasing the number of NHS dentists across England?”
Boris Johnson, the prime minister, responded, “It goes to show why it is so important to keep this county going to the dentist, because one of the troubles we’ve had during lockdown – people haven’t been going. 10 million unfilled fillings I’m told, and that’s why we’re putting record investment into dentistry, into the NHS, £36billion for all their caterwauling Mr Speaker, they opposed that investment.
The Daily Mail reported that “The queue of people waiting for dental treatment is on top of the nearly six million people in England on the waiting list for routine hospital treatment, with experts warning it will take years to catch up on missed care during the pandemic.”
Eddie Crouch, chair of the British Dental Association (BDA) responded to the prime minister’s claims on twitter, saying, “Sorry @BorisJohnson, when you said in PMQs there is record investment into NHS Dentistry I presume either you have been misinformed or there is funding we @TheBDA are unaware of?”
Meanwhile, the BDA’s official twitter account shared, “Boris Johnson claims to have put “record investment into dentistry”. The reality is that the dental services millions depend on have suffered cuts not seen anywhere else in the NHS. Thank you @NavPMishra MP for pressing for action on dentistry. Our patients deserve better.”