Shocking state of local dentistry

April 4, 2006 3:57 PM

In the week that controversial new NHS dental contracts come into force across England and Wales, Stockport's Liberal Democrat MPs, Andrew Stunell and Mark Hunter have revealed the number of people in Stockport who are registered with an NHS dentist has already fallen by 24,000 since Labour came to power.

Commenting on the figures, Hazel Grove MP, Andrew Stunell said:

"There is a growing decay in NHS dentistry provision, here in Stockport and across the country. Things were bad when the Conservatives were in power. They have got worse under Labour, and they are set to get worse still.

"In 1999 Tony Blair promised that by 2001 everyone would have access to an NHS dentist. Not only has this not happened, but the situation has actually worsened. Since Labour came to power there are now 19,000 more adults and 4,800 more children in Stockport that are not registered with an NHS dentist.

Cheadle MP, Mark Hunter added:

"My postbag has been filled to the brim with constituents' concerns over their struggle to find an NHS dentist.

"These new figures show that NHS dentistry had reached crisis point even before these new contracts were imposed. Now the situation looks even grimmer for Stockport as many dentists are refusing to sign the contract and are leaving the NHS altogether.

"The new dental contracts are not giving local NHS dentists enough confidence to make a long-term commitment to the NHS.

"The failure to increase registrations through this new contract is an indictment of Labour's failure to restore the NHS to what it should be: a universal, comprehensive service that provides ongoing health care to everyone who needs it." ENDS

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