Portsmouth is branded a ‘dental wasteland’ as desperate family travel from city to WATFORD for NHS treatment


Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, revealed the shocking claim during a debate in Parliament on the rotten state of GPs and dental services across the country.

The revelation is the latest scandal in Portsmouth’s long dental crisis, which has seen some of the city’s poorest families struggle to find free treatment.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Morgan told MPs about the plight of a family from Portsmouth who travel to Watford every six months for treatment because there was ‘no possibility of registering with an NHS dentist” in the city.

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He added: ‘Perhaps one of the most shocking examples of the seriousness of the situation is that a Portsmouth resident had to resort to extracting two of his teeth with pliers, after struggling to find an NHS dentist.

“In 2022, in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, no one should be forced to take such action because NHS services are hanging by a thread.

“Portsmouth is no longer just a dental wasteland: it’s healthcare hell.

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, pictured during the debate on access to GPs and dental care in Parliament.

“It’s time for the Minister to get her head out of the sand, listen to the people of Portsmouth, step in to eliminate the backlog, develop a workforce strategy and finally deliver NHS services that my constituents want and desperately need.”

Portsmouth is the most densely populated city in the UK outside of London. However, a study by the Association of Dental Groups showed the city has the 7th lowest number of NHS dentists per 100,000 in the country, at 42.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted the Tories were injecting “record amounts of investment into the NHS”.

He added: “Under the NHS’ last long-term plan, before the pandemic, we made a historic commitment of an additional £34billion a year. Due to the pandemic, we then necessarily invested £92 billion in additional funding. In the last spending review, we further increased funding to bring the NHS budget to £162.6billion by 2024-25, supported in part by the new healthcare and social care tax .

“We have made sure the NHS has the right level of resources to face the future with confidence, but we also need to be aware of the consequences.”

Speaking after the debate, Mr Morgan accused the Government of ‘shameful mismanagement’ of funds and ‘chronic underinvestment’ in the NHS for 12 years.

He added: ‘It is clear that Ministers are happy to simply cover up the cracks, rather than tackle the scale of the challenge ahead, clearing the backlog and delivering the dental services that my constituents have been crying out for. need and deserve.”

In January, the NHS pledged to provide up to 350,000 additional dental appointments, nationwide, through a £50million funding injection – including 15,000 in Portsmouth.

Speaking at the time, Maria Caulfield, Minister for Primary Care, said: ‘Access to NHS dentistry has been given a much-needed boost with an additional £50million announced for dental services. NHS dental care, which will urgently give more people access to life-saving dental care when they need it.


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