Toothless Are Speechless Following Health Committee Snub
- Published: Wednesday, 15 March 2023 12:18
- Written by Guy Tuggle
- Hits: 1217
The pressure group Toothless In England (TIE) has been angered by the news that it will not be called to submit oral evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee’s Inquiry into NHS dental access and reform.
Although a date has to be set for the Inquiry, it seems many of the sixty seven groups and individuals who made written submissions outlining their thoughts on how access, recruitment and retention can be improved will not get the chance to address the committee and respond to questions.
Toothless in England sprang to fame in 2021 and is campaigning for ‘An NHS Dentist For Everyone’. It hatched as ‘Toothless in Suffolk’ when the last practice in Leiston closed citing recruitment and retention difficulties, leaving an entire community without an NHS dentist and unable to sign on with one elsewhere in the county where the shortage of NHS dentists is acute.
BDA Chairman Eddie Crouch joined the campaign’s protest march.
A tweet by the group said “After submitting written evidence in January, we followed up last week asking for a seat at the table when the NHS dentistry inquiry hears oral evidence. Their answer was a resounding ‘No’.
Our network of campaign volunteers is obviously upset abnd bitterly disappointed with this decision. We had high hopes, as this inquiry presented itself as being open and willing to hear from interested parties. These hopes look to have been dashed.
The only reason they’ve given is that there are “a limited number of spaces available”. We have translated this to mean “We won’t allow you to interfere”.
TIE submitted six pages of evidence for the committee to consider and had canvassed widely amongst patients, would be patients and providers. Hospital doctors and nurses spoke of children presenting at A&E with toothache and of patients with mouth cancers being detected at an advanced state and requiring surgical intervention that could have been avoided.
Staff who work in nursing homes, with young offenders or in sheltered housing groups told the group of their concerns.
‘Not only does it make their job more difficult, but they see the effects this is having not just on the affected individuals in their care, but on the NHS further down the road – when routine treatment such as a filling or extraction is not available, it later turns into a matter for A&E.’
In common with seemingly every submission ti the inquiry, TIE calls for more funding and the abolition of the 2006 contract.
TIE’s other recommendations include a return to patient registration in line with GP surgeries, an insistence that local council planning departments have ’the necessary powers to demand housing developers include health facilities in their plans and a requirement that all newly qualified dentists spend the first five years of their career serving NHS dentistry in return for their university fees being waived.
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