Health Secretary’s latest statement fails to mention dentistry

Health Secretary's latest statement fails to mention dentistryThe Health Secretary failed to mention dentistry in her latest statement, prompting fears that the profession has already been forgotten.

Thérèse Coffey earlier this month pledged to tackle dentistry in her promise to prioritise ABCDs – ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists.

But in her statement yesterday, there was no mention of dentistry or any support for practices or patients.

While she introduced measures that will improve access to general practice so patients get an appointment within two weeks, there was no corresponding plan for dentistry.

She will lay out more details of her ‘Plan for Patients’ today (Thursday 22 September).

She said: ‘I will put a laser-like focus on the needs of patients, making their priorities my priorities and being a champion for them on the issues that affect them most.

‘Our Plan for Patients will make it easier to get a general practice appointment. We will work tirelessly to deliver that, alongside supporting our hardworking GP teams.’

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Suffering in pain

Toothless in England, who campaign for ‘an NHS dentist for everyone’, said the lack of mention highlights ‘a lack of understanding’.

Steve Marsling from the Toothless campaign team says: ‘In the minister’s statement, the dental crisis is ignored. The statement shows no understanding of the depth of the crisis affecting the country, and no solutions or funding are mentioned.

‘Our invitation to the Health Secretary to get around the table with the Toothless campaigners, along with the British Dental Association, also remains open.

‘We have a plan that would help meet the needs of thousands left suffering in pain and discomfort. It’s a plan that would also ensure that the country’s oral health needs would be met in the future.’

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