Calls for a new dental college at the UEA have been backed by all nine of Norfolk's serving MPs following a government pledge to establish facilities in "underserved areas".

As part of a dental recovery plan unveiled on Wednesday, Westminster is aiming to increase dental training places by 40pc by 2032.

The announcement has given fresh hope that an undergraduate dental school could be established at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Bosses at the UEA are set to launch a formal bid to set up the school and have vowed to continue lobbying the government to fund the scheme.

And ahead of this, they have received the backing of all nine of the county's serving MPs.

Richard Bacon, Duncan Baker, George Freeman, Brandon Lewis, Clive Lewis, Jerome Mayhew, Chloe Smith, Liz Truss and James Wild have all made statements in support of the proposal.

David Maguire, vice chancellor at the UEA, said: "We will continue to press the government to allocate new undergraduate dental places to those areas, like Norfolk, where the NHS dental access need is most acute and where a new dental school can have the greatest impact.

"Within the next couple of years, UEA and our partners could play a crucial role in delivering, and maintaining in the long-term, much needed NHS dental services to the people of East Anglia."

The calls have previously been raised in parliament by Mr Mayhew, MP for Broadland.

He said: "We need a geographical spread of dentists to make sure that we tackle areas where there are few dentists - the dental deserts.

"If you grow up in Norfolk the nearest place you can train is Birmingham, so it is hardly surprising we have fewer dentists than any other part of the county."

Leaders from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the Quadram Institute also joined the pleas.