New Government plans ‘fail to get to root’ of dental problems, says Helen Morgan

7 Feb 2024
Helen talks to a resident outside a local dental practice

Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has said the Government’s announcements on NHS dentistry ‘fail to get to the root’ of the problems faced by the sector.

The supposed ‘Recovery Plan’ proposals have announced a scheme that has been trialled already in Shropshire, but has failed to attract dentists to the area.

Central to the Government’s plans are ‘Golden Hello’ payments designed to entice dentists to work in underserved areas. However, payments of £20,000 have already been offered by practices in North Shropshire that have failed to recruit a single dentist.

Dentists in North Shropshire and across the UK have been clear that fundamental reform of NHS contracts are needed if dentists are to be able to offer more NHS treatment.

The British Dental Association has been highly critical of the scheme, saying that the Government are ‘rearranging the deckchairs’ and that the Recovery Plan is ‘not worthy of the title’. They have also pointed out that the funding boost will not come close to covering the level of cuts in the past decade.

Now MP Helen Morgan, who herself has prominently campaigned on access to dentistry in rural areas like North Shropshire, has issued her verdict.

Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, said, “The Recovery Plan fails to get to the root of the issues facing British dentistry. It’s impossible to access NHS treatment in Shropshire and the Government’s tinkering will do nothing to change that.

“Golden Hello payments have been tried in Shropshire and been proved to fail.

“Last year there was a £400 million underspend in the NHS dentistry budget nationally, and an underspend in Shropshire where the NHS has money to spend but no dentists to give it to. That alone shows the scale of the problem - the contracts being offered to dental providers are simply not fit for purpose.

“I’ll be fighting tooth and nail to improve dental access in rural areas – to do that we need to see the root and branch reform of dentistry the Government promised but has failed to deliver.”