Prime Minister asked to address poor state of dental care in Dewsbury

MP for Dewsbury Paula Sherriff
MP for Dewsbury Paula Sherriff

Dewsbury's MP has raised the poor state of dental care in the area during Prime Minister's Questions.

Paula Sherriff says Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton has one of the worst levels of availability in the country.

Speaking in the House of Commons in the week that Ravensthorpe’s only remaining NHS practice closes, Miss Sherriff pressed the Prime Minister to take responsibility.

She said: “A dental practice in my constituency is just this week being forced to close due to unfair NHS dental contracts – leaving yet another neighbourhood without any dental service at all.

“Residents who urgently need care or cannot travel have had to get treatment from Dentaid – a charity set up to provide dental services in the world’s most deprived countries.

“Does the Prime Minister accept that the real decay is in the values of a society that does not provide free healthcare to all its citizens, and that it is her government that is responsible?

“And when will she keep her promises to my constituents, and guarantee that all of them, wherever they live, can access NHS dental care when they need it?”

Miss Sherriff has been pressing for increased access to NHS dentistry in her constituency and across Kirklees for years, with concerns that many are going without dental care.

She said tooth decay remains the leading cause of hospital admissions for children, with particularly high levels in the Dewsbury constituency.

She said five-year-old children in Dewsbury are three-and-a-half times more likely to suffer from tooth decay than their peers in the constituency of Conservative leadership contender and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Speaking after PMQs, Miss Sherriff said; “I’m determined to keep fighting to get a better deal for my constituents.

“I’m meeting with local commissioners this week to press for a solution to the lack of any NHS dentistry in Ravensthorpe. Travelling out of area is not possible for some, often those who are most at risk of poor dental health.

“But after years of inadequate access, local people know this is just the latest evidence of woeful dental provision. The government must do more to deliver on promises to improve access to NHS dental services and address regional inequalities.

“Local people should not be left to go without dental care – the costs of tooth decay far outweigh the costs of prevention and it’s local patients who are paying price.”