South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay has today (March 28) called on Prime Minister Theresa May to encourage the appropriate NHS commissioners to work with him to find an “urgent solution” to the lack of NHS dentists in Ramsgate.
NHS England (South East) had entered into a five year contract with Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust to run Church Hill Dental Surgery serving 8,000 patients. That contract comes to an end this Saturday -although the surgery actually closes tomorrow. There is no replacement surgery.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Craig told the Commons that the people of Ramsgate face an uncertain future regarding their dental care. He called for lessons to be learnt “so that this wholly avoidable situation, completely unrelated to resources, does not happen elsewhere.”
NHS England provided Craig with a list of dental practices in East Kent annotated with those that are currently accepting NHS patients. However residents report that there are no dentists in Ramsgate or Broadstairs currently able to accept new NHS patients.
In answer to the South Thanet MP, the Prime Minister said: “When Church Hill Dental Practice closes, NHS England will be working with other dental practices in the area to ensure that services are available and that they can increase their capacity.” Mrs May also said that a wider piece of work was being undertaken about the need and provision of dental services in East Kent.
After PMQs, Craig Mackinlay MP said:“I entirely share my constituents’ anger and frustration that, due to problems with the lease and ongoing contract losses – a situation that was known to NHS England (South East) up to a year ago – Church Hill Dental Practice will be closing at the end of this week leaving around 8,000 patients without a dentist.
“It is incomprehensible that new arrangements were not being considered and planned for a long time ago. Indeed, if I had been alerted to the impending problem sooner, I would have investigated solutions that the professionals seemed incapable of doing.
“There are currently no obvious solutions on the table, although I very much hope that a new provider will emerge to fulfil longer term demand in central Ramsgate.
“The situation is far from satisfactory, was in my view wholly avoidable, and what is more frustrating is that none of this has arisen through shortage of money – more through very poor administration.”
The satellite service at Newington Road dental practice also comes to an end on March 31.
Craig’s PMQ and the Prime Minister’s answer can be viewed here: https://goo.gl/dKxiXJ.