Statement on the vote on Dentistry in the Commons on 9 January 2024

Our local MP, Selaine Saxby states on her website that "Ever since I was elected dentistry has been one of the most frequent topics in my inbox, on the doorstep and across my social media channels. I am working to tackle the problem from multiple angles, in Westminster I have frequently met with Government ministers, whilst back in North Devon I have worked with the County Council and the Integrated Care Board. However, change is not coming fast enough for the people of North Devon that urgently need dental care."

She is right to be concerned as are her constituents which makes it all the more mystifying that, on 9th January she voted against an opposition day motion:

"That this House recognises that NHS dentistry is in crisis, with eight in 10 dentists in England not taking on new NHS patients and vast parts of the country considered so-called dental deserts, where no dentists are available; regrets that this has led to people resorting to DIY dentistry or attending A&E to access urgent care; is concerned that tooth decay is the most common reason children aged six to 10 are admitted to hospital; and therefore calls on the Government to provide an extra 700,000 urgent appointments a year, introduce an incentive scheme to recruit new dentists to the areas most in need and a targeted supervised toothbrushing scheme for three to five year-olds to promote good oral health and reform the dental contract to rebuild the service in the long-run.”

We understand that Ms Saxby voted with her party but doesn't this simply show how broken our political system is when party tribal interests trump those of an MP's constituents and also their own expressed priorities as an MP?

Meanwhile, people in our community and across the country find it impossible to get the dental care they deserve. We can sign all the petitions we like but the situation continues to deteriorate and all the political rhetoric in the world wont fix it unless parliament, including our MP, take action which, as always, speaks louder than words.


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