Dr Caroline Johnson MP calls for new dental school in Lincolnshire
On Wednesday Evening, Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, held an adjournment debate in the House of Commons to highlight the difficulties currently facing NHS dentistry in Lincolnshire.
According to recent figures, just 41% of adults in Lincolnshire have accessed NHS dental care in the past two years, and less than a third of children have accessed it in the last year.
Access to specialist treatment is even more limited as Lincolnshire has gone from having three full-time consultants in orthodontics, based in Boston, Grantham and Lincoln, to just one permanent consultant two days a week, based in Lincoln.
Constituents have contacted Dr Johnson to share their experiences in accessing NHS dental services, including parents whose children are unable to access NHS orthodontic care, service families posted to Lincolnshire struggling to get an appointment and patients faced with a choice between hugely expensive private treatment and doing without.
To improve NHS dental access in the longer term, Dr Johnson has proposed a new dental school for the East Midlands to be based in Lincolnshire which the Minister has agreed to investigate closely.
Dr Johnson emphasised the benefits a dental school would bring to the county, including boosting training and recruitment of dentists in Lincolnshire and the wider East Midlands region, and improving the education and skills offer in conjunction with the new Lincoln Medical School.
The Minister has also agreed to review short term solutions to current NHS dental care provision, including renewing current target-based dental contracts in the form of UDA's (Units of Dental Activity) which currently disincentivise additional work.
Additionally, the Government is looking at what they can do to support provision in rural and coastal areas, with the Minister agreeing to meet with Dr Johnson to discuss the particular experiences of service families posted to Lincolnshire.
Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham said: “Difficulties in accessing NHS dental services is common in my constituency of Sleaford and North Hykeham and across our rural county.
"My constituents in Lincolnshire deserve to be able to see an NHS dentist, and dentists working in Lincolnshire deserve a contract that fairly rewards them for the work they do.
"I am pleased that the Minister has agreed to review current dental contracts and support for rural areas, and that she will look at my suggestion of a dental school in the area to improve recruitment and training of dentists in the longer term.”