MPs write to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, appealing for action to improve access to NHS dental care

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MP Yasmin Qureshi has sent a letter signed by a number of fellow MPs to urge the health secretary, Matt Hancock, to take action to improve access to NHS dental care.

Ms Qureshi said that unless action is taken to create more NHS places and ensure people have access to affordable dental treatment, problems currently experienced in the worst-affected areas of the country will be commonplace across England.

Speaking about a crisis that is spiralling, Ms Qureshi urged Mr Hancock to do more to ensure that patients all over England are able to see a dentist on a regular basis.

The letter, which has been signed by 16 other MPs, has been endorsed by the British Dental Association. Recently, it was revealed that around 1 million people in England are finding it difficult to see an NHS dentist, and in some areas, patients are forced to choose between travelling over 60 miles or paying to see a private dentist.

Chair of General Dental Practice at the BDA, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said that the letter contained a “vital message” and encouraged Mr Hancock to think about the importance of choice for patients. Patients should be able to choose between seeing a private and an NHS dentist, not be forced into going to a private practice because they can’t get the treatment they need from an NHS clinic.

Health minister, Steve Brine, said that efforts are being made to improve access and added that 22.1 million adults were seen by NHS dentists between January 2015 and December 2017.

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