Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and his Labour opponent Jack Abbott have signalled that dentistry in the town is set to be a major election issue this year.

Mr Abbott quoted figures from a recent NHS report which showed that none of the 15 dental practices surveyed in Ipswich were taking on new NHS adult patients and only 10 were taking on new NHS child patients.

The figures prompted Labour to call a debate on dentistry in the House of Commons with the party promising to reform the current dentistry contract - introduced by the Labour government in 2006 - create 700,000 new dentistry appointments in England and improve oral health in schools.

He said: "Patients in Ipswich are finding it impossible to see a dentist, with some having to resort to DIY dentistry. Yet when the chance came to do something about it, Tom Hunt voted against providing desperately needed new provision." 

The Conservatives in parliament amended the motion - changing it to noting the problems faced during the pandemic and welcoming moves that could see 40% more dentistry places created across the country.

There was no vote on the new motion because Labour did not oppose it.

Mr Hunt said: “I was pleased with the Government amendment to the Labour motion. The situation with NHS dentistry isn’t acceptable.

The University of Suffolk is developing a new dental training hub near Ipswich Waterfront which will train staff and also provide a significant number of new NHS dental appointments.

It is due to start training within the next two months - and should start accepting its first patients later this year.

Mr Hunt added: "I am  very pleased with the new dental hub we have opening in Ipswich soon which will provide very large numbers of NHS dental appointments.

"The University of Suffolk deserve great credit for this and I was very pleased to support it.”