PILOT schemes designed to improve access to NHS dentistry are being developed in West Yorkshire weeks after the state of children’s teeth in the area was raised by an MP.
NHS England and the West Yorkshire Local Dental Network are drawing up plans to make it easier to see an NHS dentist in the south and centre of Bradford and North Kirklees.
Bradford South MP Judith Cummins has campaigned on the issue following research by Healthwatch Bradford which highlighted the issue was a major problem in the city.
Healthwatch Bradford manager Andrew Jones, welcomed the pilot projects to make more NHS appointments available.
He said: “A large majority of those who had a dentist were very satisfied with their dental care, but nearly half of the people we spoke to did not have a dentist but wanted one.
“People told us that they couldn’t find a dentist taking NHS patients or had been told that the nearest one was in Leeds or Halifax.
“Some had been put on a waiting list for months leaving people in desperate need – we found that 10 per cent of people needed to use emergency dental treatment because they couldn’t find a regular dentist.”
Ms Cummins raised the issue of the state of dental health in West Yorkshire with David at Prime Minister’s Questions in January.
She said: “It is shocking that 46 per cent of five year old children in Bradford suffer from tooth decay, compared with 28 per cent across England, and less than half the children living in Bradford have seen a dentist in the last two years.
“I said that I wanted a better deal for my constituents so I’m pleased to see that there is now an acknowledgement of the problem.”
Ms Cummins added: “This pilot programme is a step in the right direction, but it needs to follow through into a long term solution to the problem.”