Friday, 3 Feb 2023

Tories need a coffee after Coffey puts them to sleep

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Health secretary Thérèse Coffey’s conference speech appears to have failed to deliver the rush she might have hoped for.

The deputy prime minister took to the stage in Birmingham this afternoon to unveil plans she’s been brewing during her first weeks in post.

But while the minister was full of beans, her audience looked distinctly uncaffeinated. 

Cameras caught at least three delegates in the hall snoozing and a couple more looked on the verge.

Not even a pledge to create ‘oases of oral care rather than dental deserts’ could stir weary Tories from their slumber.

Undeterred, Ms Coffey old the hall: ‘It is frankly bonkers that we have restrictions on the recognition of doctors, dentists and nurses within the UK itself.

‘That is why I am laying regulations next week which will allow the General Dental Council to get on with accrediting dentists to work right across our United Kingdom, so we can have oases of oral care, rather than dental deserts.’

She reiterated her ABCD plan for the NHS – addressing issues with ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists.

The minister claimed the ‘Conservative government will always be on your side, when you need care the most’, and signalled a drive to get people off sickness benefit and into work.

She said: ‘We know work is good for you, both physically and for mental wellbeing, as well as putting more pounds in your pocket.’

The health secretary added: ‘That is why I will strive to support those not working now due to ill health, to help them to start, stay, and succeed in work; building on the prime minister’s pledge to have more mental health support in communities.

‘Because together we can deliver a healthier, more productive society, all the stronger, to help grow our economy.’

The British Dental Association weren’t caught napping and quickly dismissed the proposals as a quick fix.

Chairman Eddie Crouch said: ‘Nothing in this plan will end the drought facing NHS dentistry.

‘Every day NHS dentists are walking away from a service dogged by failed contracts and underfunding.

‘Ministers are looking for quick fixes. Rather than trying to fill a leaky bucket they need to actually fix it.’

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