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More dentists needed to combat rise in hospital admissions-Farron

April 21, 2009 11:36 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called for continued effort to extend the provision of primary NHS dental care following the publication of a study showing a massive increase in the number of dental hospitalisations for the under-17s.

Research published recently in the British Dental Journal indicates that hospital admissions for urgent dental procedures on young people topped 30,000 per year between 1997 and 2006, with a sustained increase over that period. Prominent in these figures was a rise in extractions, and other major treatments for serious tooth decay. Most worryingly, the study indicated a rise in the need for general anesthetic, which carries extreme risk for children.

Mr Farron worked alongside local councillors Vivienne Rees, David Vatcher and David Earnshaw last year to secure the continued service of an NHS dentist in the Ambleside area - a hard-won victory which highlights the challenge facing those trying to get adequate state dental care. Earlier this year, Tim helped to persuade NHS Cumbria to provide an additional 7,000 places locally.

"There's been great progress in recent times improving access to NHS dentistry in the South Lakes area, with 7,000 new places for NHS dental patients being created. However, thousands of local residents continue to go without any adequate dental care, and this research makes clear what the consequences are.

"Families will be counting the cost to the personal health of their children, but the NHS is also footing the bill for expensive procedures that could be avoided through regular, quality dental care that is convenient to those who need it.

"Treating the symptoms after years of neglect isn't good enough for dental health, and it isn't good enough for the health of the NHS, either. NHS Cumbria must consider the needs of those South Lakeland residents who have no NHS dental cover - my estimate is that there are still around 30,000 local people without an NHS dentist."