"The lack of NHS dental provision has become an increasing issue here in East Suffolk, especially in Leiston with some people telling me they have had to travel as far away as Colchester or Lowestoft to get an appointment. I’ve been pressing the case on behalf of patients, writing to Ministers and NHS bosses. NHS England replied to me last week confirming that they’ve now started a procurement exercise to increase capacity. Whilst this is welcome news, it’s not due to start until July 2022, which is simply not good enough. I will now write to the new Chief Executive of NHS England, Alison Pritchard and the Chairman, Lord David Prior asking them to intervene, focussing on an interim solution. I was previously promised that the NHS would up capacity at other local practices. This should be entirely possible considering dentists have contacted me saying they are willing to help. I will continue to keep the pressure up.
I continue to engage with the Planning Inspectorate hearings on Sizewell C - and have this week reiterated my suggestion to the lead inspector that there should be a short extension to the examination. Due to the changing situation, most notably in relation to water provision and EDF’s proposal for a desalination plant. it’s preferable that regulators have the time to give their feedback whilst the examination is ongoing. These new aspects must be properly scrutinised, rather than them being dealt with afterwards.
Following reports from residents, I’ve been following up with Network Rail to get them to urgently fix the gates on the level crossing at Trimley St Mary railway station. It seems that the new gates are getting stuck fairly regularly, meaning they’re not lifting up quickly enough after a train has passed - causing long waiting times for motorists whilst engineers are called. I’m concerned to hear that this isn’t an isolated incident – and can sometimes happen multiple times a day. This is clearly an unacceptable situation and I’ve asked Network Rail to make fixing them a priority.
Finally, I was delighted to be reappointed as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions by the Prime Minister last week. I’ll be continuing to focus on our Plan for Jobs – building on our targeted support schemes, including Kickstart – which is helping 2,500 young people every week – including many here in Suffolk."