Scott Benton MP
It is sadly impossible for new patients to find an NHS dentist in Blackpool. It is estimated that 40% of my constituents— some 35,000 people—cannot currently access NHS treatment. Every single week, I have constituents attending my surgeries pleading with me to get them the treatment they so badly need. Only last week, a mother attended my surgery who had had to remove the teeth of her six-year-old daughter with pliers because she was in so much pain and could not access the treatment her family needed.
As the NHS dentistry recovery plan is long overdue, would it be in order for the House to receive a ministerial statement on when we may finally see some progress on this issue?
Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
I am sorry to hear about the situation in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency. I happen to know from recent meetings with the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my right hon. Friend Dame Andrea Leadsom, who is responsible for this policy area, that she is doing a lot of work, which she will be keen to bring to the House’s attention in short order.
The hon. Gentleman will know that the Government have given a considerable uplift to local commissioners to ensure that providers are in place. From memory, I think £50 million was given at the start of last year. I know that my right hon. Friend the Minister is interested in what commissioners have done with that money as it was flexibly given—it was not ringfenced—although it was specifically given for dentist treatment. She is looking into that matter, and I will be interested to see what the answer is in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency.