County Councillor Joe Plant welcomed Rt Hon. Robert Goodwill MP to the meeting, who in turn welcomed the opportunity to attend the Committee meetings, and the recent decision regarding local government reorganisation. He looked forward to there being a smooth transition and was pleased to note Scarborough Borough Council’s decision to create town council. He suggested consideration should be given to its boundary to encompass some of the surrounding parish council areas as he could see the benefits that would bring to the residents of those areas.
He raised concerns about access to NHS dentistry, and outlined the current situation across the constituency where large numbers of people particularly children were unable to access an NHS dentist. He suggested this was not because the resource was not there, but because dentists were reluctant to take NHS patients for a number of reasons e.g. recruitment and the closure of some NHS dentists. He went on to suggest that consideration should be given to limiting the allocation of NHS dentist places only to those who could not afford private treatment. Members noted the length of time it took to train a dentist (6-7years) and the number graduating each year (approx. 1300). It was suggested they needed to be incentivised to work in the NHS and any disincentives for those at the top of their medical profession needed to be removed in order to retain them for longer.
The MP went on to discuss with Members:
· A recent initiative from the Scarborough Business Ambassadors to sell the town and encourage newly appointed doctors to come and work at the newly refurbished Scarborough Hospital;
· The issue of access to GP surgeries – He suggested there should now be a return to face to face appointments.
· Businesses being unable to get the staff they need, particularly in the hospitality and care sectors although he noted that working in a care home was now getting greater more recognition for the skills required, which he hoped would encourage more interest;
· The investment in Whitby Hospital, which he saw as a sign it was there to stay. He suggested it would be beneficial to hold more clinics on that site, in order to reduce the need for travelling;
· The availability of Level Up Funding for the area - the need for a new Park & Ride on the A171 Whitby to Scarborough road and other infrastructure projects;
· The need to increase visitor spend in Whitby without increasing visitor numbers;
· The growing number of second homes becoming holiday homes that do not pay Council tax, but take advantage of the full range of council services e.g. waste collections. He confirmed he had engaged with the Chancellor on the issue and he was optimistic it would be addressed;
· The Community Renewal Fund which needed to be spent by March 2022
· The effect the pandemic had had on many of the issues raised.
County Councillor Carl Les joined the meeting at 3:11pm
County Councillor Joe Plant thanked the MP for his attendance and offered him an open invitation to attend all future meetings of the Committee.