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Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington

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Fall In NHS Dental Access - Brake

February 9, 2005 12:00 AM

New figures revealed today by local MP Tom Brake show how Sutton has suffered a 8.3 per cent drop in the number of people registered with NHS dentists since 1997.

The figures, taken from Parliamentary answers, show that just over one in three adults are registered with an NHS dentist. Every Primary Care Trust (PCTs) in London has recorded fewer adults signed up, with only three London Authorities recording an increase in the number of children registering with an NHS dentist.

Mr Brake said:-

"These shocking figures must send alarm bells ringing because too few people are able to get the dental treatment they are entitled to. These figures show that the Labour promise of a NHS free at the point of delivery is only true for those who can find a dentist willing to treat NHS patients.

"With so few dentists accepting NHS patients it is little wonder that the levels of people registering with the NHS are so low. As NHS dental cover declines so too does dental health.

"The Government must get to grips with the crisis in dental care. Every patient deserves to be able to register with an NHS dentist locally, rather than journey miles and miles in search of service or cough up for private treatment."

Figures have been taken from Hansard Parliamentary Answers 21 Dec 2004 : Column 1671W.

Registrations with a general dental service dentist at 30 September in the years 1997 to 2004 by Primary Care Trust

1997 2004 %age change in people registered 1997 - 2004

Primary Care Trust Adults Children Adults Children Adults Children

Sutton and Merton 45.6% 53.6% 37.3% 52.8% -8.3% -0.8%