Two new dentists will open in Billingham in late 2019, after Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham secured NHS commitment to increase free-dental care capacity in his constituency.
The commitment was secured from NHS England following the announcement that Queensway Dental Practice was no longer taking NHS patients, resulting in a loss of a NHS places for local people.
Alongside local residents and councillors, Alex led the campaign to secure NHS dental services following Queensway’s announcement – bringing in £1million worth of investment in local dentistry.
Although delayed from the anticipated open dates of July, two NHS dental practices are expected to open in the Old Billingham Community Centre and 69-71 Queensway on 9 September and 21 October, respectively.
This £1 million investment in local dentistry was the result of a hard fought campaign and I’m grateful for the support from local councillors and campaigners who worked with me to ensure NHS England listened to local concerns and did the right thing.
Although the delays are disappointing, I’m pleased that work continues to ensure Billingham and local people are served by NHS dentists – meaning no one should be forced to go private for dental treatment.
This is great news for local people, but the issue of dental services being chronically underfunded remains a pressing one. The Government needs to properly invest in dental services, and ensure that everyone has access to NHS services.