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Rowen takes Rochdale Dental Crisis to the top!

August 1, 2006 9:50 PM

Rochdale MP - Paul Rowen has continued his campaign to find a solution to Rochdale's Dental crisis by taking the problems in the town to the very top.

Paul met with Health Minister - Rosie Winterton MP, her PPS - Iain Wright MP, the Government's principal dental adviser and professional head of dental staff in England - Barry Cockcroft and Head of Dental and Ophthalmic Services Delivery at the Department of Health - Simon Hall. Paul called for the meeting following the headline hitting dental crisis in the Rochdale Borough. The crisis was featured on "Tonight with Trevor McDonald" and "The New York Times" amongst others.

Paul started the meeting by outlining some of the long-standing and serious problems with dentistry in Rochdale - a lack of NHS dentists and money for the PCT to commission them. "This was historical; in the past if a dentist went private the money went back to the centre. I asked for some of that money to be returned to Rochdale."

Paul continued, "This meeting gave me a good opportunity to highlight the generally poor state of Rochdale resident's teeth. I gave the example of Balderstone Dental Practice going private and the new practice in Milnrow which opened last year to hundreds queuing and which has now gone private . This isn't acceptable. The Balderstone practice serves the biggest council estate in Rochdale and many residents can't afford to pay private and no NHS dentist has been found for them. "

Paul requested extra money to help disadvantaged areas like Rochdale. No commitments were given by the Minister who said repeatedly that it was up to the Rochdale Primary Care Trust to find the money. As well as the lack of dentists in Rochdale, Paul also raised the issue of Orthodontists where Rochdale has several.

"At the moment anyone from outside Rochdale getting treatment is paid for by Rochdale PCT. As a result there is insufficient money to treat all Rochdale patients.The Minister agreed to look at amending the system so that the PCT where the patient came from paid for treatment."

Paul said finally, "I felt the meeting was constructive and I will continue to raise these issues until we get a solution. People have a right to a NHS dentist something Tony Blair promised when he was elected. We also need to put this in the context of the news that life expectancy in parts of Rochdale is some of the worst in the country. These are huge health problems and these need to be dealt with by the Government. I will be discussing my meeting with local dentists and of course the Rochdale Primary Care Trust. The meeting flagged up some important opportunities for our PCT and I will meeting them to make sure they are taking advantage of every available resource to improve dental care in Rochdale."