Norfolk MP Jerome Mayhew vows to continue dental college bid

Published:
7:00 AM October 16, 2022



A Norfolk MP campaigning for a new dental school in Norfolk to tackle its dentistry crisis has vowed to continue the fight after ministers refused to back the scheme.

Jerome Mayhew led a recent debate in the House of Commons, where he made a case for a new dental college to be established at the University of East Anglia.

But Will Quince, the new minister for dentistry, said the idea was not something he would immediately support, stating: “It’s a no for now”.

Mr Mayhew argues that such a facility could ease the acute shortage of NHS dentist appointments in the region, as training new specialists locally would encourage them to stay and work in the area.

Following the debate, Mr Mayhew, the MP for Broadland, insisted that bringing the calls to parliament was just a first step of a long fight – and that the minister’s response was not disappointing.

He said the next step was to firm up the case for the site with the UEA, to strengthen his lobbying efforts in Westminster.

He said: “This is a long-term plan for a major change – this does not happen on the back of one debate. We need to get a lot of ducks in a line to make this happen and starting the debate is just one of those ducks.

“It is in no way dead in the water and we have an incredibly strong evidence base for it with universal support from the region’s MPs.”

He presented data showing that in locations with dental schools, there is a considerably higher number of dentists.

And he added that he had discussed the matter with prime minister Liz Truss, who he said is “fully aware of the challenges facing dentistry in Norfolk”.

He added: “This is a long-term ambition and it is all about putting forward a persuasive case, which I believe we have done.

“I am not giving up on this – it is something we all want for East Anglia. We want dentistry to improve in the area and this is one way we can do that.

“There are lots of things we need to do to address the challenges that have been created by Covid. We have a lot to do, but there are also a lot of solutions and this would be one.”

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