MPs preview new dental facilities

5 February 2024
Time to read
6 minute read
A photo of Suffolk MPs Peter Aldous, Tom Hunt and James Cartlidge with Vice Chancellor Helen Langton and dentistry lecturer Stacianne Tennant. The group are gathered around a dentistry mannequin in the labs
Suffolk MPs had a preview of the dental facilities

Three of the county’s MPs have visited the new state-of-the-art dental facilities being developed at the University of Suffolk.

Three of the county’s MPs have visited the new state-of-the-art dental facilities being developed at the University of Suffolk.  

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge and Waveney MP Peter Aldous had a preview tour of the University’s Centre for Dental Development which includes new teaching rooms for its BSc Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy. The MPs also visited the dental practice rooms which will be operated by the University of Suffolk Dental Community Interest Company (Dental CIC) which is housed in the same building. 

The MPs were shown round by University Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Langton, who said: “This innovative partnership between the NHS and the University of Suffolk will help to develop a sustainable and multi-skilled dental care workforce for the future that will contribute to supporting the oral health needs of our population in Suffolk. 

“It is a fantastic example of how universities can work with employers to develop skills and the future workforce alongside meeting the needs of their local community.” 

The first cohort of students on the Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy course started their studies this week. 

The new NHS dental practice is still being equipped and recruiting its new team and expects to offer its first appointments in Spring.  

It will focus on the patients in Suffolk and Northeast Essex in greatest need and will eventually provide an additional 18,000 hours of NHS dental appointments a year. 

When the service is up and running, it will treat patients referred by NHS 111, improving access to dental and oral health care for local people. It will also offer placements for the students on their degree programmes which is an important part of their learning. 

Lorraine Mattis, CEO of the Dental CIC, said: “Addressing the NHS dental access issues requires a collective effort and we are committed to working in partnership with local practices and the NHS to address these challenges, fundamental to this is fully utilising the multi-skilled dental care workforce.  

“Whilst we may not be able to solve this issue alone, we will make a real difference to those in greatest need and support the local community by delivering the best possible dental care and actively promoting oral health improvement.” 

Tom Hunt MP said: “I am in awe of what’s been achieved by the University of Suffolk working with the NHS. It will make a really powerful and tangible difference to the lives of my constituents. 

“I have rarely seen such a timely intervention on an issue of such heightened public concern.” 

Peter Aldous MP said: “Access to NHS dentistry has been a major challenge for my constituents for some time. 

“It’s encouraging and exciting to see the University of Suffolk working with the NHS taking significant steps to address the problems, both in the short term by providing access to dental care for patients through the Dental CIC and, in the long term, by training dental professionals.” 

James Cartlidge MP said: “This is a brilliant initiative, delivering vital new dental care capacity for Suffolk. 

“I very much look forward to this coming on stream so that we can both treat patients and train new dental professionals. Professor Helen Langton and the Dental CIC team are to be congratulated for having the drive and ambition to bring this forward at a time when we are crying out for more dental capacity in our county.” 

A photo of the dental labs, featuring table space and mannequins folded away
The dentistry teaching facilities
A photo of one of the mannequins in the dental teaching facilities
Facilities in the new dental labs

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