CLACTON MP Giles Watling, who lambasted the town as a “dental desert”, has welcomed proposals for an extra 1,750 hours of dental care for NHS patients.

Mr Watling launched a campaign for better dental care in Clacton and called on the Government to encourage more dentists from overseas to work in the NHS.

It came after it was revealed there had been a massive drop in dentists appointments for children in the town last year.

Mr Watling said he has been working with dental care providers and local health commissioner the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (ICS) to get more hours of dental care for NHS patients in Clacton.

“One of the biggest issues in my postbag is a lack of NHS dental appointments locally,” said Mr Watling.

“For the last year I have been working non-stop with the UK’s leading NHS dental provider, MyDentist, and our local NHS commissioners- the ICS.

“The plan was simple - reimagine the contract process and think out of the box to bring new dentists from overseas to Clacton to treat NHS patients as part of an innovative training partnership with one of the UK’s leading dental schools, the University of Central Lancashire.

“These people can already practice here to see private patients as part of their course, but the national framework was just too inflexible to allow local solutions for local issues.

“I’ve been busy brokering meetings from Clacton to Whitehall, offering as many carrots as I can think of as well as the odd stick.

“I can now announce that 1,750 new hours will be available exclusively for NHS patients at the MyDentist Clacton dental practice from September.”

If approved, the extra hours are estimated to be equivalent to an additional 1,200 appointments per year.

Mr Watling thanked the team at MyDentist and Government minister Neil O’Brien for agreeing a deal to provide more NHS hours.

Natalie Pearson, practice manager at MyDentist Clacton, said: “We’re thrilled that this new initiative will allow us to treat more NHS patients whilst also training up the next generation of NHS dentists to help the local community.”