John Penrose, minister for Weston-super-mare, has asked the prime minister when more NHS dental appointments would be available for patients.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on May 8, 2024, John asked, “Weston-super-Mare is a growing town, so local health services are rightly growing as well. Weston General Hospital is treating more patients for a wider variety of problems than before. GPs’ surgeries are offering thousands more appointments this year than last, and our new diagnostic centre means faster tests and treatments.

“However, there is a fly in our NHS-prescribed ointment: dentistry is not fixed yet. The new dental recovery plan is very welcome, but when will it mean appointments that Westonians can book?”

The government published the ‘NHS Dental Recovery Plan’ in February 2024. It included a £200m fund to help deliver additional appointments and treatments.

Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, replied, “Our dentistry recovery plan will make dental services faster, simpler, and fairer for patients, funding about 2.5m more appointments. I was pleased to note that access is improving in my honourable friend’s area, with nearly 10 percent more children seeing a dentist in June last year than in the previous year.”

The plans included a new patient premium scheme, which pays practices between £15 and £50 when treating new patients who have not seen an NHS dentist in two years or more.

Rishi added, “The new patient premium that was announced last year is ensuring that more NHS dentistry will be provided, and since then, at the end of January, 500 more practices have said that they are now open to new patients.”