Felixstowe: East Suffolk's NHS dental shortage scrutiny

  Posted: 12.10.21 at 09:51 by Jason Noble (local democracy reporter)

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Health leaders are set to address East Suffolk councillors over a shortage of NHS dentist provision in the district this month.

East Suffolk Council’s scrutiny committee, chaired by Felixstowe councillor Stuart Bird, will meet on Thursday, October 21, to discuss problems, which have been seen in Felixstowe, district wide and nationally, and quiz health leaders over what actions are being taken.

Among those set to join the discussion are a handful of dental practices, Healthwatch Suffolk and Healthwatch Norfolk, NHS England and Waveney MP Peter Aldous.

Members of the public frustrated at the problem are being encouraged to tune in to the video stream of the meeting, starting from 6.30pm.

Kirkley and Pakefield ward councillor Louise Gooch, who brought the issue for discussion, said: “I submitted the scoping form for the review to the committee in July after having been contacted by numerous residents who were experiencing either great difficulty or absolute impossibility in securing NHS dental treatment.

“My own experience of losing my dentists’ practice when Ferns and Yaxley ceased operations on Kirkley Cliff Road mean I completely understand residents’ frustrations.

Louise Gooch (Labour) was dental shortage examined

“Although dental provision does not directly sit under the remit of district councils, they do have a duty of care to residents.

“It is to the great credit of both the chairman, Cllr Stuart Bird, and the entire cross-party scrutiny committee, that they collectively decided that there was a case to investigate.

“I promised that I would do what I could at council to raise this matter, and this is the best avenue.”

The meeting hopes to understand the key problems with provision, the extent of the issue and what plans are in place to address the shortage.

Mr Aldous has raised the issue of NHS dental provision in Parliament, and said that problems recruiting and retaining dentists and a lack of funding have contributed to the problem.

The meeting will be streamed live on the council’s YouTube page from 6.30pm on October 21.

NHS England, which commissions dental services, has been contacted for comment.

Toothless in Suffolk have been campaigning for better NHS dental treatment in the county.

Earlier in the month Dentaid, a dental charity, visited Felixstowe Ferry to offer free treatment and checks, to fishermen and their families.Full story here...

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