From: Coun Marilyn Greenwood (Lib Dem), Greetland and Stainland Ward, Calderdale Council.
As a local councillor, I was recently asked if I could find an NHS dentist for one of my constituents. To my concern, I discovered that the only dental practice I could find was 11 miles away.
I could not find an NHS dental practice registering new patients across the whole of Calderdale. My daughter was also recently informed that my baby granddaughter would have to go on a waiting list at her dentist as registering children was ‘‘selective’’ (Although this has now been overturned on my further enquiry). We all know that private dental services are too costly for many people and if adults cannot register then in many cases their children often do not attend as they should.
As I sit on various Calderdale Council boards, I investigated this problem further and reported my concerns and findings. Many children are at risk from poor oral hygiene and tooth decay and West Yorkshire is reported as being a ‘‘hot spot’’. I also discovered that children (many under 10) suffer such extreme decay that they have to tolerate a general anaesthetic and surgery to extract teeth. Surely there is a need to provide a service for these children before they undergo such drastic measures?
Shouldn’t the millions it costs to provide surgery be spent on improved preventative methods? When I was a child I had milk throughout my first few years at school – which is known to be beneficial for the development of strong bones and teeth. We had visits from the school dentist and any child who was not registered with a dentist was offered treatment at a local clinic.
Dentistry is free on the NHS to any child and a practice has a duty to offer this. Dental sealant of children’s teeth is also free. If a child is ever refused dental check-ups or treatment, the parent/guardian should not accept this.
At a recent meeting of Calderdale Children and Young People Scrutiny Board, a firm commitment was made to work towards service improvement and NHS England, who regulate funding for NHS dental treatment, asked to attend a meeting in the New Year a view to tackling these problems.
From: Andrew Mercer, Guiseley.
GIVEN the link between the NHS and social care, it is now paramount that Boris Johnson appoints a new Health and Social Secretary to advance this agenda.
In my view, Matt Hancock is not up to the job – he’s not done anything since he took over from Jeremy Hunt when Mr Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary.