Today I called upon the Health Secretary to guarantee improved dental services in Southend West and Leigh, to ensure that everyone who needs an NHS dentist is able to get an appointment with one.
The Government has just published its NHS Dental Recovery Plan which delivers an extra 2.5 million appointments over the next year.
In her statement to the House, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said that despite over a million more people seeing dentists last year than the year before, too many people in rural or coastal communities are still struggling to make appointments.
I put it to the Secretary of State, that as Southend is a coastal city with over 180,000 residents and only three dental practices accepting NHS patients, would she commit to funding either a mobile dental van, or better dental care for my constituents?
I reiterated that I would like to see this happen within months rather than years.
The Secretary of State thanked me for my question and confirmed that those Southend dental practices operating under NHS contracts will have the benefit of new patient premiums and the increased rate of UDA (units of dental activity). She went onto say that she welcomed my support for the Dental Recovery Plan.
Making Southend and Leigh healthier is one of my key priorities and I will continue to press the Government on the issue of NHS dental provision for my constituents.