DENTAL reform plans from the Government have ‘already failed’ in north Shropshire, according to the area’s MP.

Ministers have been pushing action being taken by the Government over the lack of access to an NHS dentist, with a Recovery Plan aimed at paying practices to take on more dentists.

But Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, says the plan to give ‘Golden Hello’ payments to dentists on top of their salary has failed to recruit anyone in the county.


Many dental practices have now stopped taking NHS patients, instead offering membership plans that provide access to a dentist, albeit limited.

She said: “The Recovery Plan fails to get to the root of the issues facing British dentistry.

“It’s impossible to access NHS treatment in Shropshire and the Government’s tinkering will do nothing to change that.

“‘Golden Hello’ payments have been tried in Shropshire and been proved to fail.

“Last year there was a £400 million underspend in the NHS dentistry budget nationally, and an underspend in Shropshire where the NHS has money to spend but no dentists to give it to.

“That alone shows the scale of the problem - the contracts being offered to dental providers are simply not fit for purpose.

“I’ll be fighting tooth and nail to improve dental access in rural areas – to do that we need to see the root and branch reform of dentistry the Government promised but has failed to deliver.”

A spokesman for Mrs Morgan added: “Dentists in north Shropshire and across the UK have been clear that fundamental reform of NHS contracts are needed if dentists are to be able to offer more NHS treatment.

“The British Dental Association has been highly critical of the scheme, saying that the Government is ‘rearranging the deckchairs’ and that the Recovery Plan is ‘not worthy of the title’.

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“They have also pointed out that the funding boost will not come close to covering the level of cuts in the past decade.”

Reports have seen that in some areas, people have been queuing from dawn at new practices opening with plans for ‘dental vans’ to be used in rural areas like North Shropshire.

Around a million people who have not seen a dentist for two or more years are expected to benefit as officials offer a “new patient payment” of £15 to £50.