Rishi Sunak claim that UK has ‘more NHS dentists’ since new contract changes is a ‘grotesque misrepresentation’

Rishi Sunak asked if he visits an NHS dentist in PMQs

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the UK now has ‘more NHS dentists’ since the new NHS contract changes were introduced last year.

In the latest round of Prime Minister’s Questions, Rishi Sunak made the claim after questioning from Lancaster and Fleetwood’s MP, Cat Smith.

‘There are no NHS dentists taking on patients in Lancaster,’ she said.

‘For those of my constituents who are lucky enough to have one, are waiting months for an appointment.

‘Can I ask the Prime Minister how long he had to wait for his last NHS dental appointment?’

‘More NHS dentists’

He replied: ‘As a result of the newly-reformed NHS dentistry contract, there are now more NHS dentists across the UK with more funding, making sure people get the treatment they need.

‘Let me answer directly – I am registered with an NHS GP. I have used independent healthcare in the past and I’m also grateful for the hospital that have given my family care over the years.

‘But the truth is I’m proud to come from an NHS family. That’s why I’m passionately committed to protecting it with more funding, more doctors and nurses and a clear plan to cut the waiting list.’

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‘On its last legs’

But the British Dental Association (BDA) slammed the Prime Minister’s answer, shunning the comments as inaccurate.

It pointed out figures that show 24,272 dentists perform NHS activity in England during 2021-22 – lower than levels seen in 2017/18.

BDA chair Eddie Crouch said: ‘The Prime Minister has offered a grotesque misrepresentation of a crisis facing millions. Our patients are living with the reality.

‘The facts are there are no new dentists, no new contract and no new money.

All we’ve seen are tweaks at the margins. We need honesty, ambition and investment to save a service on its last legs.’

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