Local MP Tim Farron has this afternoon started a petition demanding action to improve the state of NHS dental care in rural areas like Cumbria.
The MP has raised the issue of poor dental provision in the House of Commons, visited several dental practices in Cumbria and has now decided to petition the Health Secretary.
It comes as shocking new data reveals that in South Cumbria and Lancashire:
- 147,102 (42.9%) children have not seen a dentist in the past 12 months
- 753,733 (57.5%) adults have not seen a dentist in the past two years
Meanwhile in the North East and North Cumbria:
- 240,289 (42.6%) children have not seen a dentist in the past 12 months
- 1,189,722 (52.0%) adults have not seen a dentist in the past two years
Tim said: “The Conservative Government has allowed NHS dental provision in Cumbria to reach crisis level, with far too many patients no longer able to access NHS treatment.
“Having heard from dentists, patients, and having raised this in the House of Commons, we need to show the strength of public support for fixing this crisis. Some of the stories I have heard from residents unable to access care are appalling, including people forced to turn to dangerous DIY dentistry.
“Please sign our petition to show how strongly people feel about the lack of provision in rural areas, and that this issue cannot simply be ignored by the Government.”
The petition reads ‘I/we support Tim Farron’s calls on the Government to increase the number of NHS dental appointments available in rural areas. In particular, we call on the Government to increase training places for new dentists, reform NHS dental contracts and make it easier to recruit experienced dentists to fill dental vacancies in rural areas.’ and can be signed at https://www.wfelibdems.uk/dentistry