Extra funding and accountability at a local level must help more people access NHS dentists in places like Andover and Tadley, Kit Malthouse MP has said.
The North West Hampshire MP met with health bosses at the local Integrated Care Board (ICB) after receiving reports of new patients and child patients unable to see NHS dentists.
ICBs have this month taken on the accountability and responsibility for dental services on a county level, and they are working closely with local practices to get NHS help to the people that need it.
An extra £50 million of government funding has also been made available for NHS dentistry this year. The South East is getting £6.887 million, and some of that will go to Hampshire and Isle of Wight, providing five additional practices and 691 extra appointments.
Speaking after the meeting, Kit said: “A significant number of people have been contacting me about not being able to get an appointment with an NHS dentist, and that’s unacceptable.
“We know that the pandemic saw reduced capacity because of strict infection control requirements, and this predictably led to backlogs. Since then, we’ve asked practices to prioritise urgent care, vulnerable groups and overdue appointments. We’ve also made an extra £50 million available for NHS dentistry for this financial year.
“I’m pleased that responsibility and accountability for local dental services will now be taken at a more local level and I hope this will get help to the people and the areas that need it most. The longer-term solution is to encourage more people into careers in NHS dentistry, and this work is underway through reforms to the NHS Dental Contract.”