Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, has welcomed the news that NHS England have guaranteed £1m for temporary dental cover in Stockton North – but repeats his calls for the Government to properly address the funding crisis in NHS dentistry.
This announcement comes after Queensway Dental Clinic ceased taking on NHS patients, forcing 12,000 users to find another dentist. Following the move, Alex wrote to the Health Secretary organised a public meeting, and met with NHS England, the British Dental Association, and Queensway to find a solution to the lack of dentistry capacity in Stockton North.
Since then, Alex has been in regular contact with NHS England, who have informed him of that they are putting £1m into temporary cover in Stockton, and are advertising for new dental contracts which will see up to two new dentists set up in Billingham by 1 April 2019. NHS England will also be writing to all 12,000 Queensway patients to inform them of local dentists with NHS capacity, including The Grange Dental Surgery, Norton, Hardwick Dental Practice, and Mydentist, Stockton. NHS England have also assured patients that emergency dental treatment is available should anyone require it.
I’m pleased to see that NHS England have taken action to address the issue of lack of dental capacity in Stockton North, and that Billingham will be home to upto two new dentists by April 2019. Since Queensway announced it would stop taking NHS patients, constituents were rightly concerned about their access to NHS treatment, and these measures go in some way to address these worries.
While I welcome these developments, it is still clear to me that the Government need to tackle the deep-rooted issues affecting NHS dentists. I’ll be continuing to press the Health Secretary for a wider rethink of the NHS dentistry.