The crisis in our National Health Service is having a devastating impact in communities across our country.
Spiralling waiting lists, inaccessible services, and worse outcomes for patients.
Everywhere you turn, things are getting worse, but no where is this more apparent than in NHS Dentistry, a crucial part of our health service, but one that is a mere pipe dream for so many.
The collapse of NHS dentistry has left millions of patients unable to get an appointment when they need one.
Analysis of patient survey data suggests that last year, 4.75 million people were either told there were no appointments available, or the practice wasn’t taking on new patients, when they last tried to book an appointment.
It is symbolic of the return to Dickensian Britain that this Conservative government have presided over that a survey from Healthwatch shows that 1 in 10 Brits have been forced to attempt DIY Dentistry.
Vast parts of England now resemble “dental deserts” with patients finding it near impossible to get an NHS appointment.
In the North-West, over half of all NHS practices are not accepting any new patients, with 77.5% not accepting any new adult patients, and we are one of the better off regions!
It is simply not good enough, yet the government have sat on their hands for too long and failed to deliver a plan which meets this challenge.
In comparison, Labour has a clear plan to radically overhaul NHS Dentistry and get care to those who need it quickly.
Labour’s Dentistry Rescue Plan will deliver funding for 700,000 new NHS appointments for patients in need of urgent treatment.
It will provide incentives for new dentists to work in areas with the greatest need, tackling the emergence of “dental deserts.”
Three to five years olds will be provided with supervised toothbrushing in schools, targeted at the areas with highest childhood tooth decay.
But most importantly, Labour will reform the dental contract to rebuild the service in the long run, so NHS dentistry is there for all who need it.
It’s a plan that we can only deliver with a Labour government, and that means winning a general election.
If there’s one thing on my letter to Father Christmas this year, it’s for the Prime Minister to give us that election, so we can deliver the change in NHS Dentistry and beyond, that our country so desperately needs.