Over the past 2-3 years, I have been actively campaigning for improvements to NHS dental services here in the East, particularly around access and appointments.
There is no doubt that we need to be training more dentists.
That’s why I have been working with fellow Norfolk MPs, NHS stakeholders and other key Norfolk partners to make the case for a new dental school for Norfolk – ideally at UEA in Norwich.
While the recent announcement of the new Dental Development Centre at UEA is very positive indeed (see more here), it must be the first step towards a full undergraduate training School of Dentistry – one that also enables qualified dentists to specialise in more expert treatments too.
Having previously spoken in parliamentary debates advocating for such a school (see here) and worked with colleagues to raise the subject with ministers and officials, as well as on calls with NHS England and the local Norfolk and Waveney NHS Integrated Care Board, I have this week formally written to the ICB to state again my wholehearted support for this campaign.
As we know, statistically, students that study at the likes of UEA and the University of the Arts are far more likely to settle locally than students elsewhere in the country. I believe we would see the same occurring were a dental school established here and, with a full School of Dentistry, more would be incentivised to stay – no longer needing to head to major cities like London in order to progress their skills.
Rest assured, I will continue to work hard on this issue – and more widely on the broader NHS dental campaign that I, with fellow Norfolk MPs and the NHS, are driving forward in order to deliver the improvements we need to see.
To learn more about my ongoing campaign, including the positive progress made to date, please visit my website here.