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Access to dental treatment is the number one issue in Waveney Valley, an MP hopeful Adrian Ramsay says





Access to dental treatment is the number one issue in a Suffolk constituency, an MP candidate has said.

Adrian Ramsay, who is campaigning as the Green candidate for the new Waveney Valley constituency, conducted over 800 surveys looking into residents’ dental treatment.

The results showed just over one in four people, or 27 per cent, had gone without dental treatment, while 42 per cent paid for it because they were unable to access an NHS dentist.

Adrian Ramsay said access to dental treatment is the number one issue in his constituency.
Adrian Ramsay said access to dental treatment is the number one issue in his constituency.

The lack of access seems to be discouraging people from even registering with the health service, with 66 per cent of respondents saying they are not registered.

Mr Ramsay said: “This is the number one issue in the constituency. It’s shocking to read the latest results of our survey.

“NHS dentistry ought to be a vital safety net for people who can’t afford private treatment, but the government has cut payments to dentists so that they can no longer cover their costs.”

Mr Ramsay hopes to be elected to the new Waveney Valley constituency. Picture: Green Party
Mr Ramsay hopes to be elected to the new Waveney Valley constituency. Picture: Green Party

Data released by the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (SNEE ICB) painted a similar picture by showing only 38.7 per cent of the SNEE population had seen a dentist in the two years leading up to June 2023.

The lack of access to dental treatment has led the ICB to publish its dental plan for Suffolk which included investing in prevention, bolstering recruitment, and procuring more dental contracts.

However, Mr Ramsay joined campaigners in calling for a full reform of NHS dental contracts.

As it stands the Unit of Dental Activity (UDA) system means dentists are often paid the same for some procedures regardless of how challenging they are — this means, for instance, dentists are paid the same whether a patients need one filling or five, as the treatment is grouped into the same treatment band.

Mr Ramsay added: “This is not the fault of dentists. Despite the Government trumpeting their dental recovery plan in February, dentists are still simply not getting payments that cover their full costs for NHS treatment.

“They are not able to take on any more NHS patients and many have stopped even treating existing NHS patients. The sums don’t add up for them.”