A BOLTON MP has called on Whitehall to make dental care free for everybody at the point of use.
Sir David Crausby criticised the government after figures this week revealed that nearly half of adults in England had not been to the dentist for over two years.
The Bolton North East representative claimed the situation was “unacceptable”.
He said: “I think it has been a particular issue in Bolton and the rest of the country for many years. It’s the failing part of the NHS in my opinion.”
Correspondence between Mr Crausby and health and care under-secretary Steve Brine also showed that almost five million children in England had not seen a dentist in more than a year.
The Labour MP believes that the decreasing numbers of people receiving dental care could be responsible for rising numbers of patients visiting A&E with dental problems.
He said that underfunding dentistry was a “false economy” and said access for poorer people was becoming “more and more” expensive.
Tooth decay is among the leading cause of hospital admissions for children, with 43,000 having multiple teeth extracted under general anaesthetic due to tooth decay last year.
Mr Crausby says the cost of these procedures to the NHS is as high as £35m.
In the year 2016/17 figures showed a 3,800 increase in the number of dentists employed by the NHS.
In response to the Bolton MP, Mr Brine said: “The government is committed to supporting dentist and NHS dental services. The department is continuing to test, alongside NHS England, a new NHS dental contract.”