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Chronic shortage of NHS dentist places




Simon Lightwood, MP for Wakefield, is renewing his demand for the government to address the ‘emergency in NHS dentistry in Wakefield’, as charges for NHS dentistry increase by 8.5%.

In January, during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Mr Lightwood highlighted the issues his constituents have experienced when trying to access an NHS dentist. Research conducted by Mr Lightwood’s office that month showed there were no NHS dental practices in Wakefield, Horbury and Ossett accepting new adult patients.

This month, charges for NHS dentistry increased by 8.5%. Responding to these changes, the British Dental Association (BDA) stated that they “will do nothing to help struggling practices or the millions of patients unable to secure an appointment”.

Polling by YouGov for the BDA - identifying how costs impact patients’ willingness to seek dental treatment - found that 26% of people surveyed had gone without required NHS dental treatment and 19% had delayed seeking the treatment they needed due to the cost.

These new charges have been introduced at a time where foodbank handouts in Yorkshire have risen by over 25%, according to data released by the Trussell Trust.

Mr Lightwood said:

“The emergency we face in NHS dentistry in Wakefield is down to the mismanagement by successive Tory governments over the past 13 years, which is now being exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.

“The failure of this government to properly address the chronic shortage of NHS dental places in Wakefield, alongside the cost-of-living crisis, is hitting the most vulnerable in Wakefield the hardest. Wakefield needs action.

“That’s why I’ve started the ‘Save Wakefield’s Smiles’ campaign. I’m demanding that this government acts to ensure that people across Wakefield, Horbury and Ossett are able to access the vital NHS dental care they need, without experiencing further hardship.”

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