Ryedale’s MP has called for urgent action on dental provision in Helmsley

Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake, said the delays in providing a dental service in the town are totally unacceptable and has pressed the relevant health minister to intervene.

Residents were left without vital dental care after their practice closed suddenly.

Patients of the Bondgate Dental Practice in Helmsley were sent a letter last summer from NHS England saying the NHS dental contract had ended and the surgery was closed.

More than 360 local residents have since joined a Facebook group, Save Helmsley Dentists, calling for the practice to be reopened.

Mr Hollinrake, who has been supporting their campaign, has had urgent discussions with the Health Minister, Jo Churchill, who has now demanded that the NHS commissioners responsible provide a full briefing and timescale for a proposed solution.

Mr Hollinrake said: “This really isn’t good enough. Patients at Bondgate Dental Practice in the town received a letter last September out of the blue telling them that the contract with the previous dentist had ended and the surgery was closed.

“Since then NHS England has been dragging its heels and more than 300 local residents have been without a local dentist.

“Although temporary commissioning at Kirkbymoorside and Pickering surgeries has been put in place, we need a permanent solution.

“The time taken to commission new services should be around nine months and the current timescale is April 2022, which is not acceptable.”

As soon as the NHS commissioners respond a meeting will be set up with the MP and the Minister to push forward the plans for a new dentist as soon as possible.

Andy Suter, from the group Save Helmsley Dentists, said: “ Obviously it’s a move in the right direction. Incredible the regional Department of Health Commissioners are so sclerotic and simply beyond belief it is now 12 months since routine dentistry was available in the Helmsley area due to their apparent total inertia.

“Hopefully the Commissioners will get the ball rolling now with a view to issuing a new contract after the intervention of Jo Churchill MP, a junior minister at the Department of Health - time will tell.”