Lack of NHS dentists continues in Wokingham

12 Feb 2024
Little girl in dentist chair having a check up.

Clive Jones, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Wokingham said, "Registering with an NHS dentist and getting treatment continues to be a problem in Wokingham, even though I highlighted this problem over a year ago after Munira Wilson the Lib Dem MP for Twickenham mentioned the lack of NHS dentists in Wokingham in the House of Commons.

"At the time Wokingham's MP Sir John Redwood said that no one in the area reported recent problems with finding a dentist and that on average only 3 people a year complained to him that this was an issue locally.

"So for Sir John the lack of NHS dentists in Wokingham was not a problem.  Last week, along with his government, he belatedly woke up to the issue and asked one of his rare questions in parliament relating to Wokingham, but framed it as only a problem for new people moving in.  I know from talking to residents who have lived here for a long time that the problem is here, now, and has been for many years.

"Victoria Atkins the Secretary of State for health has launched the Dentistry recovery plan and found £210m to provide more NHS dentistry appointments

"This £210m has been found using some of the underspend of £400m in the NHS dentistry budget in 2023, the British Dental Association also says its possible there will a similar underspend this year, it's not new money."

The recovery plan hasn't been universally welcomed by the Dentists professional bodies.

Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee says,

"This ‘recovery plan’ is not worthy of the title. It won’t halt the exodus from the workforce or offer hope to millions struggling to access care. Nothing here meets government’s stated ambitions, or makes this service fit for the future.

Ministers wanted to stop dentistry becoming an election issue. By rearranging the deckchairs they’ve achieved the exact opposite. The crisis will remain a burning issue in communities across this country until we get real change".

The President of the College of General Dentistry Dr Abhi Pal says, 

"The additional funding won’t restore universal access to NHS dental care."

Clive Jones says,

"Once again, I'm asking Sir John to stand up for the residents of Wokingham and ask the Secretary of state for Health to do more to improve NHS dental care in Wokingham".