Suffolk NHS patient forced to travel to Ely for dental treatment
- Credit: Paul Geater
A Suffolk patient seeking NHS dental treatment had to travel to Cambridgeshire for treatment, a Suffolk MP has said.
Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, revealed that her office had been advised that a "practice in Ely was able to treat an NHS patient from Bury" in a letter to constituents.
The Suffolk MP was tweeting an open letter, addressing her constituents regarding ongoing concerns about dental provision in the area.
Ely is around a 40 minute drive away from Bury St Edmunds, over the border in Cambridgeshire.
In her open letter, Ms Churchill, who formerly worked as a minister in the Department for Health, admitted that this journey was "not a suitable solution for all".
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She said that she had been assured by the Chief Dental Officer and NHS England and NHS Improvement that several NHS practices had been "supporting patients with increased capacity to see new NHS patients" but admitted that not all of these were accessible for those without transport.
It's not the first time that patients in Suffolk have faced long round trips to receive dental treatment with NHS patients from Leiston having faced trips down to the likes of Colchester after losing practices there.
NHS England is currently procuring more dental services for Suffolk but it won't be available until next summer, campaigners have said that a nine-month delay is unacceptable.
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Ms Churchill said she believed more could be done to ensure that residents in Bury and the surrounding areas could be seen for treatment.
She is hosting an online dentistry summit on Tuesday from 9.30 until 10.15 to hear the views of those living in her constituency who are unable to receive dental treatment.
Those wishing to attend should get in touch with Ms Churchill's office.
The summit comes ahead of a large protest planned in Bury St Edmunds this weekend by the Toothless in Suffolk group.
The group is campaigning for the reinstatement of local NHS dentistry position in the county.
The march will take place on Sunday starting at the Abbey Gardens at 11am and will go past Ms Churchill's office in the town.