Funding cuts could deprive thousands of dental care, an MP has argued in a fresh bid to protect NHS services.
South Yorkshire MP John Healey is urging the government to continue funding in a bid to save NHS dentistry in his constituency.
Representing Wentworth and Dearne, he argues that stripping the area of the financial support would force practices to drop patients, The Star reports.
More than 4,800 patients have been able to receive treatment as a result of the Access to General Dental Services fund. This support is set to end in April.
As a result, Mr Healey is trying to secure urgent meetings with Jo Churchill MP, minister for public health and primary care, as well as Richard Barker, NHS England’s regional director.
This follows a debate in the House of Commons over the impact of COVID-19 on dentistry.
Taking place last week, MPs from both sides of the house voiced concerns over the imposition of new NHS dental targets.
Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, pushed for the abandonment of new contractual targets.
She said: ‘My message today is simple. We are sleeping walking into the biggest oral health crisis since the creation of the NHS. Unless the government begins to recognise that dentistry is an essential health service, the sector will collapse.
‘The current activity targets are unattainable and need to be scrapped.’
Dental Protection also pushed for the government to take action. As a result, they identified five main areas where change needs to happen:
- Inappropriate measures of dental activity
- Protecting dental professionals from the virus
- Antibiotics and remote consultations.
Dental director, Raj Rattan said: ‘Dentists have faced a range of challenges throughout the pandemic. Many have returned to practise in equally demanding circumstances. Despite this, dental professionals always put the interests of their patients first.
‘They have remained committed to providing high standards of care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic’
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