Public meetings to look at NHS dentist concerns

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

Public meetings about NHS dentist concerns are set to be held - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

A campaign group aiming to get better dental treatment for people living in Suffolk has organised a series of public meetings about its concerns.  

Toothless in Suffolk has been meeting with local authorities and NHS bosses trying to raise concerns about the issues for some months after Leiston lost two of its dental practices in the space of 18 months, leaving the town without any provision.  

The NHS said that some new services would be coming to the county next year, but this isn't soon enough for campaigners.

The campaign is now looking to hear more people’s stories and concerns about accessing an NHS dentist in a series of public meetings.  

The first meeting will be held at The Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe tonight at 7pm with a further meeting taking place at Leiston Community Centre on November 10. It’s hoped that an event will also be held in Bury St Edmunds soon.   

Speakers at the Felixstowe meeting will include campaign leaders Mark Jones and Steve Marsling as well as Helen Duncan, an NHS dentist who retired this year. 

Mark Jones, one of Toothless in Suffolk’s campaign co-ordinators, said: "We are encouraging the public attend these meetings.  

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“It is important that we hear their stories. Indeed, people have a genuine desire to share their experiences but often find it difficult to find a way of doing so. We want to provide them that platform. 

 “Since setting up this campaign, we have been inundated with some of the most horrendous stories you can imagine. When you find yourself needing emergency treatment, for instance, and you are repeatedly being told that there is no availability to treat them on the NHS, you can sometimes end up taking the matter into your own hands, often with dire consequences to your health and wellbeing. 

 “Wednesday’s public meeting will help amplify our call on the government, local councils and the NHS commissioners to step up now and do more to help those in need of immediate dental treatment and long-term care. We are not going away until there is an NHS dentist for everyone.”