Chris Loder MP monthly round up

Date:

Rural Dorset gains from NHS dentistry reforms, more support for local farmers and record social care funding for rural Dorset

A few months ago, the Government announced its plans to recover and reform NHS dentistry, and I am glad to see that rural and coastal communities, such as West Dorset, will receive specific benefits this year. I know just how difficult this situation has been – and continues to be – for many constituents. The reforms will see the introduction of new mobile dental provision to bring dental care to the most remote and underserved communities where there are no NHS dental practices operating. It also includes the introduction of incentives to retain and encourage dentists in areas like West Dorset, starting with the first cohort of dentists later this year. And we will also see an uplift to the minimum payment for units of dental activity (UDAs) rising to £28 per UDA this year.
While I welcome the fact that these measures will improve accessibility, I still want to see West Dorset recognised as a priority area for further reforms. It’s vital that any reforms account for the geographical, demographic and economic challenges we face in rural West Dorset. I’ve raised these views directly with the Dentistry Minister. And I have also raised my concerns about access to NHS dentistry with the Integrated Care Board at Dorset NHS, which has the ultimate responsibility for commissioning NHS dental services in West Dorset.

Youth gender identity
In the past few months, a growing number of parents have got in touch with me to share their experiences of how exposed and vulnerable their children have been when it comes to discussions around gender identity with third parties. Dorset is in the top 10 per cent of NHS areas for referrals of our children to a Gender Identity Clinic in the UK. This became very apparent a few weeks ago, after NHS England announced it was taking the decision to ban the prescription of puberty blockers as there was not enough evidence that they were safe or effective.

Investing in farming
Last month I called for an increase in food self-sufficiency levels in the UK and for Grade 1 and Grade 2 agricultural land to remain in food production. At present, the UK is 60 per cent self-sufficient in all foods, but relies heavily on imports of fruit and vegetables. We should be harnessing highly fertile land to take our self-sufficiency levels way above that 60 per cent and to support the farmers who produce much of what we consume in this country. Food security is as important as any other matter. I shall closely monitor the impact of climate change and global insecurity on supply chains. My comments follow the government’s announcement of £2.4 billion annual investment in farming and a legal requirement to publish a Food Security Index every year, with a commitment to ensure that baseline food production of 60 per cent of food is preserved in the UK.

More funds for social care
Also last month, I was pleased to help secure record funding of £408,022 for Adult Social Care reforms in Dorset. The funding, announced last week by the Department for Health and Social Care, will go towards helping unpaid carers, supporting adults with learning disabilities or mental health problems and boosting engagement with the elderly in society. I’ve previously raised with the Minister the unique situation we face in West Dorset regarding adult social care, and the cost it places on local government and the Dorset taxpayer. Funding on this level will help to identify areas for localised innovation and will facilitate learning for onward development and investment. I’m incredibly grateful to all those working in adult social care, and I’ll continue to push for greater recognition within Government.

As always, if I can help, you can contact me by email: hello@chrisloder.co.uk and you can keep up to date with my latest news by visiting chrisloder.co.uk or write to me at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

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