New data has revealed that last year, 50 children under 11 from across Oldham Borough were admitted to hospital for tooth extraction, a procedure carried out under general anaesthetic.
Oldham Labour has expressed concern that after 12 years of Tory mismanagement of the health service, dentists are quitting in droves. 2,000 dentists quit the NHS last year, around 10% of all dentists employed in England, leaving many local people struggling to find an NHS dentist.
An estimated 4 million people can’t get NHS dental care and some parts of the country, including Oldham, are now called ‘dentistry deserts’. A recent BBC survey found that all 27 Oldham NHS dentists are not taking on new adult NHS patients.
The BBC also reported people making their own false teeth out of modelling resin and pulling their teeth out when gum disease makes them too loose to be of any use.
Labour is demanding that Theresa Coffey, this month’s Health Secretary, brings forward an urgent plan to ensure everyone who needs an NHS dentist can access one.
Labour’s Cllr Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet member for Health and Social Care, said:
“Residents are constantly coming to us with concerns about not being able to get Dentist and General Practice appointments. Parents struggle to find an NHS dentist for their children and many wait far too long to be seen. The inevitable consequence is children ending up in hospital for preventable emergency care. Britain under the Tories simply isn’t working and families across Oldham are paying the price. We may be a nation famous for queuing but whether it’s healthcare, passports, or a court case, Oldham residents have had enough.”
“We need a government that will prioritise the health and well-being of children and, instead we have a Conservative Government too mired in scandal and too busy destroying the economy with handouts for the rich to act.”
Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said:
“What kind of country have we become, when children are forced to attend hospital to have their teeth removed?
“The Conservatives are overseeing an exodus of dentists from the NHS, leaving people who can’t afford to go private unable to get any care at all.
“The longer we give the Conservatives, the longer patients wait. Labour will put patients first and make sure they can be seen on time.”