Protest over lack of dental care in Suffolk

NHS Dentist protest in Bury St Edmunds. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Campaigners want better dental care in Suffolk - Credit: Brittany Woodman

More than 200 people took part in a protest in Bury St Edmunds over ongoing concerns about dental provision in Suffolk. 

The Toothless in Suffolk group gathered on Sunday morning calling for full access to local NHS dental treatment.

NHS Dentist protest in Bury St Edmunds. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Campaigners say dental care in Suffolk was better 40 years ago - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Campaigners say there are issues across the county with many people being forced to travel out of county to either Essex or Cambridgeshire for treatment. 

Leiston is one of the hardest hit towns after losing two dental practices in the space of 18 months; there are now no dentists at all in the town. 

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill acknowledged the issues in her own constituency earlier this week in an open letter before holding a summit to better understand the position of her constituents on the issue. 

The NHS has promised that more services are coming and that it was "committed to ensuring everyone can access high quality dental care" but that this would take until next summer to come to fruition.

Campaigners say the delay is simply 'intolerable'.

NHS Dentist protest in Bury St Edmunds. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

NHS Dentist protest in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Brittany Woodman

During the protestors heard from speakers from the campaign as well as Eddie Crouch, chairman of the British Dental Association (BDA).

NHS Dentist protest in Bury St Edmunds. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Leiston has lost two dental surgeries in 18 months, forcing patients to travel out of area for treatment - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Steve Marsling, one of the organisers of the group, said that they had been pleased with the turnout. 

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"It was a big success," he said. "We are very pleased, there were around 200-250 people there. 

"It was an absolutely superb turnout. It's been better than we thought."

Mr Marsling said that the group would continue to fight for better dental treatment in Suffolk and beyond. 

"We are trying to get the charity Dentaid to come to Leiston and Bury," he said. 

NHS Dentist protest in Bury St Edmunds. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

The next big meeting for Toothless in Suffolk will be with the NHS in November - Credit: Brittany Woodman


The campaign is also starting to gain traction elsewhere in the country with concerned patients now approaching the group from Yorkshire to Cornwall and everywhere in between. 

The group are thinking of going national in the new year. 

Mr Marsling said: "It should not be the case that people were better off 40 years ago. 

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