The Mirror has launched a petition demanding that all Brits should have access to an NHS dentist following a Government rescue plan being blasted with claims it won’t end the crisis
A petition has been launched by The Mirror demanding that everyone can get access to NHS dentistry after a Government rescue plan was torn to shreds.
Dentists said the blueprint – finally unveiled 10 months after it was first promised – will fail to end the crisis. The British Dental Association said the proposals “won’t halt the exodus from the workforce or offer hope to millions struggling to access care”.
Under the plan to be announced today, dentists will be offered cash incentives starting from £15 to see patients who haven’t had an appointment in the past two years or longer.
Teams will be sent into schools to teach children how to brush their teeth, while new parents will be given advice on looking after baby gums and milk teeth. Dental vans will be deployed to rural areas, while dentists will be offered £20,000 over three years to move to places where there are shortages.
The NHS said the £200million plan could see up to 2.5million extra appointments offered over the next year. But experts warned it will not go far enough and accused Rishi Sunak of failing to deliver on the pledge he made to “restore” NHS dentistry when he was running to become Tory leader.
More than 12 million people were unable to get dental care last year – more than one in four adults in England. At the same time 90% of dental practices are no longer accepting new NHS adult patients. The Mirror is campaigning to get dental access for all as millions are unable to get appointments to get their teeth checked.
We have joined forces with the BDA to launch a petition on the 38 Degrees website calling on the PM to “save NHS dentistry and make it fit for the 21st century”. It is demanding that the Government properly funds NHS dentistry, so everyone who needs care can secure it. We also want to scrap the failed contracts forcing dentists out the NHS and rebuild a service with prevention at its heart.
Shawn Charlwood, Chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee said: “This ‘Recovery Plan’ is not worthy of the title. It won’t halt the exodus from the workforce or offer hope to millions struggling to access care.
Ministers wanted to stop dentistry becoming an election issue. By rearranging the deckchairs they’ve achieved the exact opposite. The crisis will remain a burning issue in communities across this country until we get real change.”
Labour’s Wes Streeting 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 to 10-year-olds being admitted to hospital.
“The Conservatives are only promising to do something about it now there’s an election coming… It will be left to the next Labour government to rescue NHS dentistry and get patients seen on time once again.”
Matthew McGregor of 38 Degrees said: “The public can see how NHS dentistry has been left to rot by the Government. They’re disgusted to hear about people forced to pull out their own teeth, or fly to warzones for treatment – they can see the system isn’t working. Dentists say the so-called rescue plan isn’t good enough, and we know the public will believe them rather than swallowing Rishi Sunak’s spin.” Sign the petition here.
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Our three demands to fix crisis
1.Everyone should have access to an NHS dentist More than 12 million people were unable to get NHS dental care last year – more than one in four adults in England. At the same time, 90% of practices are no longer taking new NHS adult patients.
2.Restore funding for dental services and recruit more NHS dentists The UK spends the smallest proportion of its health budget on dental care of any European nation. Funding in England was cut by a quarter in real terms from 2010-20.
3.Change the contracts A report by the Health Select Committee branded NHS dentists’ contracts “not fit for purpose” and the service “unacceptable for the 21st century”.