Government’s plan ‘won't rebuild NHS dentistry’ says shadow health secretary

Government’s plan ‘won't rebuild NHS dentistry’ says shadow health secretary
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 07/02/2024

- 19:10

Shadow health secretary said that Government's dental recovery plan 'too little too late'

The Government’s plan to end the crisis in dental care “won't rebuild NHS dentistry” says Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting.

He told GB News: “What a lot of what the Government put forward today in terms of extra appointments and that targeted recruitment to get dentists into areas that are the most poorly served are proposals Labour's put forward previously.

“So I'm not going to knock that, what I do dispute is the Prime Minister's argument that this is a recovery plan.

“When we put forward those measures, we were clear about the fact that those were emergency measures to deal with the immediate crisis, but we won't rebuild NHS dentistry without reform of the NHS dentistry contract.”

In a discussion with Martin Daubney, he continued: “What's happened is that the income for dentists, the difference between what they get for their private practice and what they get for their NHS practice, has widened to the extent that cheap dentists and are handing back the dentistry contracts.

“NHS Dentistry has become virtually non-existent in significant parts of the country. And we've got now in dentistry is a situation where those who can afford it, or in some cases people who can't afford it, are borrowing to pay for it, are going private.

“Those who can't afford it or can't borrow are being left behind and it's the worst of all worlds, terrible for patients and we've heard some horrific examples of DIY dentistry.”

He added: “What we've got today was too little too late. I couldn't believe it when the Health Secretary said we're going to do contract reform in 2025. That’s after the General Election. Who is she trying to kid?

“They broke the promise in 2010 and in 2015, and in 2017, and in 2019. What's going to make 2024 any different? I hope people bear that in mind when they go to the ballot box later this year.”

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