THE town’s ‘hanging-by-a-thread’ dentistry services - which local MPs believe have collapsed due to the government’s failure to protect surgeries following the pandemic - could be put right by a motion to ditch so-called ‘non-dom’ tax statuses to fund a reform.

The plans - backed by Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock - will cost more than £100m a year in total but would be solved by abolishing the non-dom tax status, which allows people who live and work in Britain to pay their taxes overseas.

Of the 489 dental surgeries who have provided a recent update in Yorkshire and Humber region, 270 are not currently accepting any new adult patients, according to Labour.

Figures show there are about 140 working in the Barnsley area, meaning each one had the equivalent of more than 1,600 patients on their books - squeezing appointment books and subsequently making it increasingly difficult to secure a slot.

However, the number has dropped by 21 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic, leading local leaders and the British Dental Association (BDA) to join forces in a bid to force change.

Barnsley was revealed as one of the worst-hit areas in the country, having lost more than a fifth of its dentists in recent years.

The collapse has left thousands of Barnsley patients unable to get an appointment when they need one, Ms Peacock said.

“The Conservatives have left NHS dentistry to wither on the vine and now the service is barely worthy of the name,” she told the Chronicle

“Patients in Barnsley are told to go without or do it themselves, with ‘DIY dentistry’ now shockingly common.

“Labour has a fully-costed plan to rescue NHS dentistry by gripping the immediate crisis and reforming the service in the long-term.

“People in Barnsley East spoke of professionalism, efficiency and great service when they were able to see a dentist.

“Again, skill is not the issue.

“We desperately need more government funding and an improvement to access.

“We will provide urgent appointments and recruit new dentists to the areas most in need, paid for by abolishing the non-dom tax status.”

Figures from the NHS show 100,302 adults were seen by an NHS dentist in Barnsley in two years - 51 per cent of the area’s adult population.

It is up from 46 per cent in 2020 to 2022 but below the rate before the pandemic when 61 per cent were seen between 2017 and 2019.

The British Dental Association backed the proposal and called for ‘radical and urgent change’ to help NHS dentistry recover.

Chairman Eddie Crouch said: “We’re seeing the limits on the recovery and this government’s ambition.

“Demoralised dentists are walking away from a broken system, while millions struggle to access the care they need.

“NHS dentistry can come back from the brink, but only if ministers turn the page.”