MPs ask dentists to open up

A new Parliamentary group formed to push dentistry higher up the national health agenda is planning a series of visits to dental practices to widen politicians’ understanding.

Charlotte Atkins MP, chair of the all-party Parliamentary group for dentistry, said she wants the group to study best practice as well as help to ‘link MPs up’ with dentists in their constituency. She said she hoped the group would give politicians ‘more chance to talk’, as well as listen, to
practitioners about the issues that mattered to them and their patients.

She said: ‘We are trying to promote a greater understanding of dentistry to make sure the issues that are causing patients and dentists grief are addressed appropriately. I want to set up some visits to have a look at a private dental set-up and an NHS set-up. We will definitely have a look at best practice, but also link MPs up with dentists in their constituency.’

Ms Atkins, Labour MP for Staffordshire Moorlands and Vice President of the British Fluoridation Society, said she hoped that by holding receptions, themed meetings and public debates the group might foster a greater understanding of how dentistry works.

The group, whose official statement of purpose is ‘to act as a focus for dental and oral health issues and raise the profile of dentistry, highlighting the views of both patients and the profession’, is backed by the BDA, who have been asked to provide administrative support as well as help and advice.

It also plans to work with other dental organisations.

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