MP fights for better dental health-care

January 10, 2008 5:19 PM

Mark asked about Dental provision in Business Questions

Mark Hunter, the Liberal Democrat MP for the Cheadle constituency, has today raised the critical issue of the NHS dentistry crisis again in Parliament during Business Questions.

Mr Hunter once more pressed Harriet Harman MP, the Leader of the House, for a specific and urgent debate on the crisis in dental health-care after it was revealed in today's national newspapers that Britain's dental health-care is the most expensive in Europe. The article in this morning's Independent stated that a standard filling in the UK cost as much as £177 compared to £35 and £6 in Hungary.

Mr Hunter has been a persistent critic of the Government's lack of attention to NHS dentistry and their failure to keep the 1997 promise that within two years everyone would have access to NHS dentistry wherever they live. Most notably Mr Hunter raised this issue during Prime Minister's Questions, where the then Prime Minister admitted that they had failed to keep their promise, that more needed to be done, but failed to give any assurance as to how and when this might be achieved.

Commenting Mark Hunter MP said: "My constituents and I have been aware of this crisis in NHS dentistry for a considerable time. I constantly receive letters complaining not only about the cost of treatment, but also about the difficulty of finding an NHS dentist that will take them on.

Quite frankly this isn't good enough - while the Prime Minister is announcing the need for better preventative health, NHS dentists are in crisis and cannot give people the dental care they need, emergency and preventative.

The rising cost of dental care for citizens is only making matters worse. That we have the most expensive dental care in Europe is totally unacceptable especially in light of the intermittent service most people receive. If people can't see their dentist for a check-up then when they do get to see them any dental problems they might have are likely to be more severe and therefore cost more to put right. The extraordinary cost of these treatments just adds insult to injury.

The Government promised action on this issue ten years ago and it still has not happen. Delivering on this commitment ought to be a top priority and I intend to keep up the pressure for them to do so."

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