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UK Against Fluoridation

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The struggle to see an NHS dentist revealed - with one telling our reporter to phone back in April 2016

Hannah Roberts, who experienced dental problems
Hannah Roberts, who experienced dental problemsWe surveyed more than 100 dentists in Norfolk and Suffolk and found many are not able to see NHS patients until later in the year.
One even told our reporter to phone back in April 2016 if we wanted to see someone.
The same problem did not apply to more expensive private treatment, which was available in a matter of weeks at many of the surgeries we surveyed.
Today, frustrated dentists said the matter was out of their hands, blaming an NHS dental contract system which means they can only treat a certain number of people per year, before they have to close their books.
South Norfolk dentist and secretary of Norfolk Local Dental Committee, Nick Stolls, said: “I really sympathise with patients who struggle to find a dentist, but it is frustrating for us too. It is a shambles of a contract.”
We used the NHS Choices website, which lists both NHS and private surgeries, to survey 20 dental practices in seven parts the region – Norwich, King’s Lynn, Lowestoft, Cromer, Diss, Dereham and Great Yarmouth.
Of the 140 results, 67 practices are not accepting new, fee-paying adult NHS patients, with 65 not accepting patients who get treatment free, which includes expectant mothers and those on certain benefits. Some 55 were not accepting new child patients on the NHS.
When we followed up the survey by ringing 18 of the surgeries, one suggested we book a private dental appointment because it would be “massively quicker than the NHS”, another explained they had no availability for appointments, NHS or private, until the end of September, one said we should “ring back in April”, while another told us they were extremely short staffed and this was preventing them from offering appointments quickly.

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