A Lincolnshire MP has called on the government to do more for dental care access in the county, pitching the idea of a local dental school to attract more work in the sector.
Dr Caroline Johnson, Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, first spoke in the House of Commons on the issue of dental care provision in her constituency back in October, saying the lack of NHS dental access is causing real problems in the county.
Recent figures show that just 41% of adults in Lincolnshire have accessed NHS dental care in the past two years, and less than a third of children have in the last year.
It comes as access continues to be more limited in the county, going from having three full-time consultants in orthodontics, based at Grantham, Boston and Lincoln, to having just one permanent consultant two days a week in Lincoln.
Following on from the Commons debate, Dr Johnson met with the minister for patient safety and primary care, Maria Caulfield, to further discuss the lack of access to NHS dentistry in Lincolnshire.
She detailed the struggles of her constituents in finding adequate care, and stated that more needs to be done to attract more dentists into work.
This prompted calls for a dedicated dental school in Lincolnshire (the closest ones are in Sheffield, Leeds and Leicester), which will also be discussed with Health Education England in the near future.
The MP’s suggestions were to boost training and skills opportunities for young, budding dentists, but creating the dental school as part of the newly built Lincoln Medical School at the University of Lincoln.
Within her arguments in the commons, Dr Johnson said that Lincolnshire has no specialist services either in paediatrics or restorative dentistry, meaning patients have to travel out of the county for more expert help in their time of need.
Dr Caroline Johnson, Member of Parliament for Sleaford and North Hykeham said: “I believe that it is vital to ensure we have good provision of NHS dental care, which is something many of my constituents contact me about.
“Following my positive meeting with the Minister on this important topic, I will be speaking to Health Education England, Ministers and the relevant universities about my suggestion for a Lincolnshire dental school and I will assist them in their full report to analyse the feasibility and costings.
“Although these are early steps in discussions, it is my intention to campaign actively for a dental school in Lincolnshire as it is well-known that you stay where you train and I therefore consider this to be the best long-term solution for our county.”