- NHS dentist numbers are falling nationally and locally
- Access reduced for patients to NHS treatment
A loss in NHS dentists in the Lewes area has been criticised as “appalling”, by Lib Dem James MacCleary.
The number of dentists in East Sussex CCG has fallen from 336 in 2015, when Maria Caulfield was first elected, to 296 now, in line with the national decline.
Maria Caulfield, the Lewes MP, is the junior health minister responsible for dentistry.
Lib Dem Cllr Sean MacLeod recently contacted NHS dentists in the Lewes District and found a decline in the number of NHS patients being taken.
Figures on the decline were revealed after a question to Lewes MP and health minister Maria Caulfield from Lib Dem leader Ed Davey.
The British Dental Association (BDA) has criticised NHS England over targets and made clear the national circumstances are challenging for dentists with little support to reach them.
Concern about the impact of Brexit has been highlighted by the BDA, with around 17% of dentists in the UK coming from the EU.
James MacCleary, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Lewes, said:
“A local decline in dentists, when our MP is a minister directly responsible for dentist provision, is frankly appalling.
“The NHS dentists who are left are facing huge pressure and need more support. Government targets come with no means to meet them. Money has been announced, which will barely scratch the surface, and will do nothing to change the approach that has brought us here.
“Dentists are a huge part of the NHS and people deserve the right to see them. It’s clear the government’s policies have led to fewer dentists, working in more challenging circumstances, meaning we all get a worse deal.”