The government has announced its Dental Recovery Plan with more funding to ensure there are more NHS dentists in our communities.
Here in Eastbourne, it is a challenge to find an NHS dentist taking on new patients and I regularly help constituents with finding treatment.
Dentists will be given £20,000 to work in communities that lack enough NHS dental services. This should increase dental appointments across England by 2.5 million in the next year.
In addition, dentists will be paid more for their work and ‘dental vans’ sent out to rural and coastal areas.
Ministers also launched a consultation on a potential water fluoridation programme to help prevent tooth decay.
I have written to all dental practices in Eastbourne and Willingdon asking them about the plan and what it will mean to them and their patients.
This week around eight million families started receiving their third Cost of Living Payment. The final sum means a total payment of £900 to support vulnerable households at a cost of £2 billion. Lower inflation and higher wages mean cost of living pressures are starting to recede, but some families still need help and thousands in Eastbourne and Willingdon have benefited over the last few years.
The campaign to save Meads Sports Centre is continuing and I had a very positive update meeting with the University of Brighton this week, who own the site. There are a number of potential operators in the mix including those I was able to introduce them to and a preferred bidder may well be in place by March.
I have also met with the hospital and ICB about paediatric care and, developers ‘Untold Living’ about Site 1 at The Harbour. We desperately need new housing options in our town but with a doubling in the number of flats proposed since planning was first granted, amongst other concerns, we challenged the scale of their proposed development, especially its height. I’m working with Councillor Nigel Goodyear and the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association.
And it’s National Apprenticeship Week this week and figures released to celebrate show that 10,260 apprenticeships have been started in Eastbourne since 2010 and nationally 5.7 million. This is an absolutely brilliant success story!