Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”There are more than 500 more dentists working in the NHS this year than last year”

PM Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister’s Questions

Facts

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour MP Mary Kelly Foy asked the Prime Minister about the state of NHS dentistry. In response, Rishi Sunak stated that there are over 500 more dentists working in the NHS this year than last. 

Full Fact said that Sunak’s claim was likely referring to the number of dentists who performed NHS activity in England in 2021/22, which was 539 higher than in the previous year. 

The BDA has criticised Sunak, labelling the current exodus of NHS dentists, a “Crisis”.

NHS data released in August 2023, states “24,151 dentists performed NHS activity during 2022-23, a decrease of 121 on the previous year”

Verdict

Sunak was misleading parliament. The figure he uses appears to be referring to the number of dentists in England carrying out NHS work in 2021/22, not “this year”. In contrast, NHS data shows a decrease of 121 NHS dentists this year.

As Full Fact concludes, even if this figure is incomplete, “a headcount of the number of dentists doing some NHS work doesn’t tell the full story about NHS dental capacity”

The Prime Minister was misleading the House of Commons. According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.  Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.” Rishi Sunak was misleading parliament in defiance of the Ministerial Code, a resignation offence.

We emailed Rishi Sunak’s office and Number 10 offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

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