On Tuesday evening I spoke in the Chamber on some of the steps that need to be taken to address the lack of NHS dentistry in Ipswich and East Anglia. As a Suffolk MP I welcome the idea of an East Anglian Training Centre. We were told in the debate that the closest place you can train to be a dentist to East Anglia is currently Birmingham!
I wanted to highlight how the proposed Centre for Dental Development at the University of Suffolk in Ipswich can also play a role. The University Dental Centre could work hand in glove with the Training Centre in Norwich to make sure people are trained locally and stay to work professionally in East Anglia, increasing our dentistry number. This would also ensure that when needed, dentists are able to be pooled to provide services within the NHS.
I was incredibly pleased to hear how positive the Minister for Health, Will Quince, was in speaking about the proposed Centre for Dental Development at the University of Suffolk. While the plans for a new training centre in Norwich are currently under consideration as a long-term project, it was heartening to his view that the Ipswich Centre for Dental Development was a good project that would address this shortage.
Many of you will remember that I’ve already called on the Government to change the rules to ensure that once dental students are fully trained they are obligated to spend a period of time within the NHS before going private. It’s crazy that the taxpayer invests dental training and then once qualified many immediately go private.
Well done to my Norfolk colleague Jerome Mayhew for hosting this debate.