'Nightmare for Pontefract patients' - MP Yvette Cooper raises dentistry 'crisis' in Parliament

Yvette Cooper has called on the government to address the "complete crisis" in dentistry, after huge numbers of local NHS patients were told they'd no longer receive check-ups.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 10:22 am

Ropergate Surgery in Pontefract emailed many of its former regulars last week to say they would only be eligible for emergency treatment in future.

The move came amid a huge backlog of dental treatment, Covid restrictions limiting patient access and a shortage of staff.

Dentists across the country are facing similar problems, with a lack of dentists available nationwide to fill the gaps.

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Yvette Cooper has called on the government to take swift action to remedy the crisis.

Ms Cooper raised the issue in Parliament on Monday, saying the situation was creating a "vicious spiral" in dental care.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government was reviewing Covid protocols to allow more dental patients to be seen and it was working with the NHS "to see what more we can do".

Speaking afterwards, Ms Cooper said: "NHS dentistry is in complete crisis with a huge backlog in urgent treatment and care, long term underfunding, dental practices overwhelmed and no plan from the government to turn this round.

"But this is a nightmare for NHS patients in Pontefract and in countless other towns across the country who now can’t get check ups - and that will only make the urgent care crisis worse as problems aren’t picked up in time."

Patients across the country are struggling to get access to treatment.

Ms Cooper said she understood Ropergate "are now working on plans to contact patients again to say that they won't be removed from their NHS lists."

The practice has been contacted for comment on that point.

Ms Cooper added that, "We urgently need action from Government to solve the wider crisis so that everyone can get the NHS check ups and appointments they need."

Local Democracy Reporting Service