Dentist shortage "time bomb" revealed as one in eight nearing retirement
One in eight (13%) NHS dentists are approaching retirement, at a time when NHS dental appointments are scarce
Top 10 worst areas for NHS dentist retirement timebomb includes rural areas cut off from health services
Liberal Democrats have warned of a NHS dentist "retirement time bomb" facing local communities
One in eight NHS dentists are approaching retirement, research by the House of Commons Library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
The party warned the figures show the dentist shortage crisis could soon get worse, especially for rural communities.
The data reveals that 3,416 dentists who carry out NHS work in England are over 55 years old and therefore close to retirement. This amounts to 14% of the 23,733 dentists carrying out NHS activity in 2020/21.
The figures also show the number of NHS dentists has fallen by almost 4% from 24,684 in 2019/202.
Areas at the greatest risk of an exodus of dentists include rural areas such as North East Lincolnshire in the North, where 29% of dentists are approaching retirement, and in the South West, with 20% of dentists in Cornwall and 17% of those in Devon and Dorset aged 55 or more. The other worst affected areas are Morecambe Bay in Cumbria (23%), Norfolk and Waveney (21%), and East Sussex (19%).
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to get a grip of this potential 'retirement time bomb' by improving access to NHS dentists. The party is also calling on the Government to ensure there are enough NHS dentists in coming years by reforming the current NHS dental contract and committing to long-term workforce planning.
It comes as the government admitted it does not know how many dental practices applied to access an extra £50m of funding announced earlier this year. Responding to a parliamentary question tabled by the Liberal Democrats, Conservative Health Minister Maria Caulfield MP admitted that the government does not know how many dental practices applied to access the funds or how many of those applications were successful. The Liberal Democrats said the response showed the government is "asleep at the wheel" on the dentist crisis.
Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson, Daisy Cooper MP said:
"The shortage of NHS dentists is a scandal and is now set to get worse with this retirement ticking time bomb.
"It is sadly no wonder people are desperately turning to DIY dentistry and being forced to spend hundreds, if not thousands, on private care.
"Remote rural areas already get a raw deal on health services. Ambulance services are at breaking point in the South West, and now areas like Cornwall and Devon are most at risk from a dentist retirement crisis.
"All ministers have been able to cook up is a botched funding scheme which it seems has made no impact. It shows this Conservative Government is asleep at the wheel on the NHS dentist shortage crisis and is completely failing patients.
"The Liberal Democrats are demanding action now to recruit more NHS dentists, so people can get the treatment they need."
Richard Foord will be our Liberal Democrat candidate for the upcoming Tiverton & Honiton by-election.
I was proud to serve my country in the Armed Forces for ten years and now want to serve my community in Westminster.
Richard lives in Uffculme with his wife and family. He grew up in the West Country and served for ten years in the army after graduating from Sandhurst, reaching the rank of Major and receiving three campaign medals for service in Iraq and the Balkans.
Crisis in cancer care: Third of patients facing two month waits for treatment
Lib Dems call for urgent plan to improve cancer care after NHS targets missed in worst ever performance
Over 2,000 people are missing out on a timely diagnosis every day while 15,000 are left waiting two months or more to start treatment
Ministers accused of "sitting on their hands" while people are being left in pain
The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to come forward with an urgent strategy to improve cancer care, after new statistics revealed that NHS England has yet again missed all four of its major targets for cancer waiting times.
Analysis by the party shows that from January to March 2022, nearly 150,000 people waited longer than two weeks to see a consultant after an urgent referral from their GP, or an average of 1,600 per day.
It means only 78% of people saw a consultant within two weeks of a GP referral, way below the NHS target of 93%.
The figures also show that almost 200,000 or 29.5% of people waited longer than 28 days to get a cancer diagnosis from their specialist after an urgent referral from a GP. This means the target of 75% of people getting their diagnosis within this time was missed and that the equivalent of over 2,000 people per day missed out on a timely diagnosis.
Over 6,000 (7.7%) patients waited a month or more to begin their first treatment after a decision to treat the cancer, almost double the 4% target.
Meanwhile, 15,000 or over one third of people waited two months or more to start cancer treatment after a referral from their GP. This means a target of 85% of people starting treatment within that period is being badly missed by 21 points.
It comes after no reference was made to improving cancer care in last week's Queen's Speech. Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has tabled an amendment to the Queen's Speech, calling for a comprehensive strategy to be put forward on how the Government plans to meet a commitment for 80% of patients to be seen within two months by 2023. The party is also calling for the Government to hire more health staff, particularly specialist cancer nurses.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said:
"This Conservative Government has no real plan to fix the crisis in cancer waiting times. Ministers are sitting on their hands while people are being left in pain, or have to watch their loved ones suffering.
"The Conservatives have taken the NHS for granted for years and have their heads in the sand over huge staff shortages. The Queen's Speech didn't mention cancer care and Boris Johnson hasn't even brought forward any new legislation to tackle this mess.
"He needs to bring forward a plan now - people bravely battling cancer deserve far better than being abandoned by a Government that doesn't do enough to ease their burden."
Here we find ourselves again. It is now coming up on two years since the Conservatives' first threatened to break international law over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Then, this time last year, we heard the continued threats over Article 16 which threatened to overshadow the G7 summit in Cornwall. And now, we are awaiting a rumoured announcement from the Foreign Secretary regarding legislation which will, reportedly, unilaterally rip up the Protocol.
Emergency budget: £38m tax bill for every day of inaction
Every day without an emergency budget costs the squeezed-middle £38 million extra in taxes
Households pay extra £1.6 million in tax for every hour Parliament debates Queen's Speech
Lib Dem MP calls the debate "the most expensive waste of time by Parliament I have ever known"
Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found the additional tax hikes introduced by this Conservative Government is costing households £38 million a day.
The figures come as Michael Gove denied the Government would be introducing an Emergency Budget this week despite hints from the Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday.
Today, Parliament will be debating the Queen's Speech, yet hard-pressed families will be forking out an extra £1.6 million per hour in tax hikes. These tax increases include the hit from National Insurance Contributions increasing and the Government freezing the income tax thresholds, which impacts the squeezed-middle.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for an Emergency Budget to slash VAT which would save the average family £600 a year.
Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:
"The squeezed-middle are drowning in tax hikes and spiralling energy bills yet Rishi Sunak is nowhere to be found.
"Imagine watching the news today and seeing MPs talk for hours on end about a bunch of new laws that will not save you a single penny. This is the most expensive waste of Parliament's time I have ever known. Every second that ticks by ratchets up the tax bills for hard-pressed families.
"Now is the time for an emergency budget to slash taxes and save hard-pressed families on the brink. Dark clouds are looming over our economy and every day of inaction from this Chancellor will force more people to make the heartbreaking decision between heating and eating."
Since Spring Conference, most members will have been focused on the Local Elections which took place in many parts of the country - and rightly so: the hard work has paid off, with some truly fantastic gains made from both the Conservatives and Labour. Particular mention should go to our amazing Chief Steward at Conference, Mike Ross, who is now the Leader of Hull Council! Massive congratulations to Mike and the whole team.
The Liberal Democrats have selected Cllr Sarah Dyke as their candidate for the Somerton and Frome constituency.
Sarah lives in the constituency and is from a Somerset farming family which can be traced back over 250 years to the local area. Sarah worked in the agricultural industry and is Portfolio Holder for the Environment on South Somerset District Council where she is spearheading rewilding programmes, investment in electric vehicle charging points and the council's zero-carbon targets.
Liberal Democrats won right across the country in May's local elections with successes from the Scottish Highlands to Somerset, from Kingston-Upon-Thames to Kingston-Upon-Hull, from Powys to St Albans.
Liberal Democrats elected 868 Councillors, a net gain of 224!
We are winning again because we are listening to people. Because we hear their concerns and their frustration. Because we are standing up for our values, standing up for our communities, and fighting for a fair deal.
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