Local MP Andrew Jones met with the Chief Executive of the Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), Stephen Eames, yesterday to discuss NHS dental provision in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
The issue came to a head following the announcement by Chatsworth House dental practice that it was closing to NHS patients.
Mr Jones said:
We have a short-term issue – one that I raised at Prime Minister’s Questions – about what happens when a practice suddenly closes to NHS patients as has happened here. We also have a medium-term issue about increasing NHS dentistry capacity. Mr Eames and I discussed both these issues.
Th meeting was a follow-up from a briefing earlier this month which the ICB arranged for all Humber and North Yorkshire MPs where Andrew initially raised the issue of NHS patients displaced from Chatsworth House.
The practice closes to NHS patients on the 1 December. The ICB told Mr Jones that they are planning to redistribute the funding given to Chatworth House to other local practices so that they can take on more patients. Those affected will be contacted directly by the ICB to explain where their new practice will be.
Mr Jones continued:
I was impressed by Mr Eames and his team. They understood the urgency of the issue, realised that a local solution was needed and got busy working out how to provide it. They are confident that they can support displaced NHS patients locally and I am grateful for their commitment to doing that.
A more substantial increase in NHS dental capacity locally is being discussed as the ICB are looking to quickly launch ‘Centres of Dental Development’. These are an innovative approach to support, develop and retain the dental workforce across our the Humber and North Yorkshire.
It is good that the ICB are looking at the long-term sustainability of our dental service. This is a positive and constructive approach and I have asked that Harrogate, which is the largest town in North Yorkshire, will be host to one of these new centres.
Such a facility would place front and centre significant dental provision for our area. It could educate a new generation of local dentists. To have such a centre in Harrogate would be a huge boon to our area.
I look forward to receiving more details from the ICB and feel hopeful that my request for a Centre of Dental Development in Harrogate will be successful.