Access to NHS dentists in North Yorkshire has ‘got worse’, says MP


Last updated Feb 11, 2022

Access to NHS dentists across North Yorkshire has got worse and is “unacceptable”, according to one of the county’s Conservative MPs.

Kevin Hollinrake, who represents Thirsk and Malton, told a debate in Parliament this week that there has been “simply no availability” for dentists during his seven years as a MP.

Mr Hollinrake said one of his first acts as an MP was to raise the issue with the then Minister for Dentistry, Alistair Burt, in 2015.

However, now he says the issue has got worse and that across North Yorkshire there is no availability on waiting lists.

He told a Westminster Hall debate on access to NHS dentistry on Thursday that since 2015 the issue has “actually got a lot worse”. He said:

“This morning I checked across North Yorkshire—which is larger than my constituency—and there is simply no availability on NHS waiting lists.

“It has been like that for most of the seven years I have been in Parliament. The pity is that I have dentists who will accept NHS patients, but they just cannot get the units of dental activity.

“There is a real impasse between the issues and our honesty in saying whether NHS dentistry treatment is available in our constituencies.”

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Mr Hollinrake added that he often receives emails from constituents complaining of toothache and having to pay for private treatment despite the fact that they cannot afford it.

He said:

“This is simply unacceptable”.

Acute problem of NHS dentists

Last year, the Stray Ferret revealed that just two Harrogate district NHS dentists were accepting patients but both had a waiting list of at least two-and-a-half years.

The investigation revealed how acute the problem of dental care is for people on low incomes in the district, with one councillor describing the situation as “shocking”.

Meanwhile, a review of NHS dentistry published in August 2021 found that found there was just one NHS dentist practice per 10,000 people in the district.

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