Prime minister Rishi Sunak has admitted to using private healthcare but refused to be answer how long he had to wait for his last dentist appointment.
Sunak’s admissions came as pressure increased on the Conservatives handling of the NHS with waiting lists soaring and many people queuing for hours at A&E or unable to get appointments with overwhelmed GPs.
He was responding to a question from Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood Cat Smith who told the PM about problems her constituents are having in securing an NHS dental appointment.
She asked: “How long did the prime minister have to wait for his last NHS dentist appointment?”
Sunak acknowledged he had used independent healthcare in the past, but added he was registered with an NHS GP and said he was grateful to the local hospital that had given his family “fantastic” care over the years.
“I am proud to come from an NHS family,” he added.
Defends dentistry plans
Sunak also claimed that as a result of the new reformed NHS dentistry contract there were more NHS dentists across the UK with “more funding making sure people can get the treatment they need”.
However the government’s response to issues in dental care provision have been widely criticised by the profession.
In November the government announced contract changes for NHS dentists which it claimed will incentivise practices to take on high need patients who require treatment the most.
But dentists said at the time that the changes were minor tweaks tinkering at the margins and with no new funding all ministers had done was to “rearrange the deckchairs”.
And last month the Health and Social Care Committee of MPs launched an inquiry to examine the extent to which the current NHS dental contract acts as disincentive to dentists from taking on new patients.