Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Thurrock Labour councillor hits out at being “blocked” by council from getting to the truth over NHS dentists

THURROCK Labour’s councillor for Grays Thurrock, Lynn Worrall, has hit out after she was “banned” from asking public questions about access to NHS dentists.

Cllr Worrall said: “People across Thurrock are struggling to get an NHS dental appointment – I have spoken to people who have resorted to pay day loans just so they can pay for the treatment they, or their family, desperately need.

“I want to ask the Cabinet member responsible for Health what steps are being taken to ensure Thurrock families have access to an NHS dentist and was shocked when officers told me that I wouldn’t be allowed to ask that question.

“I well understand that the council doesn’t provide dental services but we should be working closely with local health services to ensure our residents get the services they deserve.

“If not, why does the Health portfolio holder chair the Health and Well Being Board – a body made up of council and health bodies – why do we have a Director of Public Health and a Corporate Director of Adults, Housing and Health? 

“Councillors should, at least, be able to publicly ask what is being done, on behalf of our residents, to ensure proper access to an NHS dentist”

The leader of Thurrock Labour Group, John Kent, said;

“Across the country, 43 million NHS dental appointments have been lost since the start of the pandemic, creating an enormous backlog. 

“People who are in desperate pain and have to see a dentist urgently, need NHS services to be available locally.  

“The government is failing badly on access to GPs and dental treatment. It needs to bring forward a plan to address the crisis as a matter of urgency.

“And it’s not just dentistry ad of April 2022, there were the equivalent of 1,622 fewer fully qualified, full-time GPs in England than in 2015, and in Thurrock we have the second lowest number of GPS per head of population anywhere in the country.

“We are being failed badly on access to GPs and dental treatment and we need to see a plan to address the crisis as a matter of urgency – instead of which, Thurrock Tories continue to hide from scrutiny and fail to deliver the leadership we need.”

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