Paula Sherriff MP has secured a commitment from health service commissioners that there will soon be good news for those seeking an NHS dentist in Dewsbury.
After meeting with NHS England, who are responsible for commissioning dental services, Paula Sherriff has confirmed she’s been told that work is underway to roll out improved provision – meaning that places for new NHS patients will soon be available at local providers.
A tireless campaigner for improved access to NHS dentistry, Miss Sherriff has welcomed the news, whilst highlighting the need for greater action from the government to stem the rising tide of hospital extractions and inequalities in oral health:
‘For too long, NHS dentistry in our area has been in a state of perpetual decay. Since I was elected in 2015, I’ve been fighting to prioritise this issue for those constituents who have told me it’s impossible to access an NHS dentist in our area.
Dewsbury has recently benefited from the services of the charity Dentaid, and their mobile dental unit, but this is one off provision for those in the greatest need. We simply shouldn’t have to look to a charity that usually operates in developing countries, to provide essential dental care.
From my discussions with NHS England, it is clear that the commissioners are doing what they can. I’ve been assured that an announcement is coming soon on some limited improvements to capacity, and I welcome this, though this alone will not address the woeful lack of NHS dental provision in our area.
The time has come for the government to come up with a coherent strategy for oral health that focuses on prevention, addresses regional inequalities and invests in NHS dentistry to secure long term improvements to access. Rest assured I’ll keep pressing ministers to act.’