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Derry bites back over dental crisis

30 April, 2008

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has called for the Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to do more to ease the dental crisis in Derry.

"During an Assembly debate on the lack of NHS dental care on Tuesday, I called on the Minister to intervene over the situation in Derry which is nothing short of a crisis," she said.

"Not a single dentist in Derry is taking on NHS patients who are not on benefits and many families are being forced to take out loans because they have no choice but to pay for private treatment.

"Derry has the worst oral health for children in Europe so it is clear that the Oral Health strategy has failed this region.

"The Minister confirmed that he is in contact with the professional dentist association and is hoping to secure some form of agreement whereby dentists would agree to a contractual obligation devoting a certain section of their time to NHS work.

"The Minister said those negotiations are ongoing but there is no indication of a timeframe at this stage and what I am saying clearly is that Derry needs action now.

"It is intolerable that children in this city are going without essential dental treatment because so the Minister needs to act now by doing whatever it takes to recruit additional dentists for the NHS." ENDS

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