ACROSS Cumbria, patients are having issues with getting regular dental appointments.

There has been an ongoing problem in Copeland after a dentist's surgery in Cleator Moor closed.

In Carlisle, some people are having to travel to Scotland in order to get essential dental treatment.

Trudy Harrison, Copeland MP, said: "A number of residents have contacted me to raise concern about the lack of NHS dental provision in Copeland.

"Good dental health is of paramount importance and I am working closely with Healthwatch Cumbria and other local health partners to work towards a solution to address this shortage.

The pandemic has exacerbated the issues surrounding dental treatment in Cumbria.

NHS Digital data reveals that 104,000 dental treatments were given to NHS patients in Cumbria between June 2020 and March this year – a 68 percent drop from 323,000 in the same period the previous year.

When the dentist in Cleator Moor shut down in 2016, patients ended up having to travel to neighbouring town Whitehaven for treatment.

But in some cases had to travel up to 26 miles to get the treatment they needed.

Covid 19 has made this an issue across the Copeland borough, and it also affects people elsewhere in the county, like Carlisle.

Councillor Robert Betton, Botcherby Ward, said: "I think practices should be getting back to normal now and dental care is important for everybody.

"I think dentists are being asked a lot of but things should start going back to how they were.

"People shouldn't have to travel for their treatment and they should be encouraged to stay in Carlisle.

"There's a big back log and a lack of care available and that's because people weren't attending dentists during the pandemic and there's a big build up of patients."

Back in March 2020 dental practices were told to halt their care until June when they reopened but with strict Covid 19 safety measures in place.

In January they returned to 45% of their pre-pandemic activity, and this rose to 60% by April.

Capacity in dentists is still low and many are not reaching their targets.