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.
It’s a great shame our MP doesn’t listen and respond to more of the health concerns of South Thanet residents. For instance the thousands of people opposed to the removal of the Stroke unit. Even though retaining it at QEQM would be both good for Health and the local economy. The concerns of parents waiting for ADHD assessments ( a two year wait ), those elderly frail people lying on the pavement waiting for hours for an ambulance, following a fall. And those waiting for hours in pain and worry at A&E. it’s time he took at hard look at his Governments policies which are eroding our NHS and undermining our hard working staff. Cllr Constantine HOSC ( Health Overview and Scrutiny member ).
I have been looking into the closure of Church Hill on behalf of concerned residents, who now have to find an alternative dentist. I have phoned the practice, left messages, phoned East Kent Health, tried to speak with someone; written emails – with no response at all. So thank you to Craig for raising this, and we must continue to demand answers. My note to Cllr Constantine above btw: if any frail pensioner from my ward (Central Harbour, Ramsgate) has been left for hours on a pavement after a fall, please let me know).