THE Cornish Times received a letter from Colin Martin, Cornwall Councillor for Lostwithiel and Lanreath – it said:

“Last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Cornwall to launch the Conservative “Dentistry Recovery Plan”. He certainly picked the right location: 98 per cent of dentists in Cornwall are not accepting new NHS patients, so tens of thousands of Cornish residents can only see a dentist if they pay privately. Many cannot afford to pay, so haven’t been seen by a dentist for many years. The resulting disease, pain and anxiety could all be prevented if the Government fixed the broken system.

“But it seems that the Prime Minister wasn’t here to find out the real cause of this problem, only to announce his simplistic solution. Under the current contract (introduced by Labour in 2006), if a patient needs more than three hours of treatment, it’s virtually impossible for the dentist to give them the care they need without working unpaid overtime.

“And the people who are most likely to need lots of treatment are new patients joining a practice after years on a waiting list, which is why so many NHS dentists have closed their doors to new patients.

“The idea that this can be fixed by offering an extra £15 to £50 to take on a new patient is just ludicrous. 

“I have actually listened to NHS dentists, so I know what they really need is a new, fairer contract which ensures they are paid for all the work they do instead of expecting them to work unpaid overtime when treating complex cases.  This wouldn’t have to cost a penny more than the current budget, but it would encourage the remaining NHS dentists to open their doors to new patients. It would also attract other dentists to sign new NHS contracts. For more details, visit 

“The Conservatives are hoping that photo opportunities and claims of “millions more appointments” will win them another five years in power. The Lib Dems say it’s time for this rotten government to be extracted!”