Lack of NHS dentists in Bury St Edmunds is a 'poor situation' according to Healthwatch Suffolk
NHS England says it is ‘closely monitoring the situation in Bury St Edmunds’ after it emerged dental patients in the town could still struggle to access care.
Since January – when mydentist in King’s Road announced its closure – practices offering NHS dentistry in the town have been overwhelmed with patients looking for a new surgery, with most closing their lists to new patients for many months.
Sycamore House Dental Practice, on the Northgate Business Park, is currently accepting new adult and children NHS patients, however the situation is ‘reviewed on a daily basis’.
Andy Yacoub, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said: “Bury is Suffolk’s third largest town with upwards of 40,000 living there.
“Healthwatch Suffolk believes that having only one dental practice taking on NHS patients for a town of its size is a poor situation. This has been the case in the town for most of 2018.”
“We fully understand the complexities of managing NHS dental contracts and how the cost of such a contract can have a negative impact on dental practice.
“We also recognise that NHS England has commissioned extra capacity from a number of dental practices in areas surrounding the town. However, Suffolk is a rural county and this can mean reaching services can be difficult for some people.”
Elsewhere, the closest practices taking on new NHS patients are Tavern Street Dental Practice, in Stowmarket, or Thatch Dental Surgery, in Mildenhall. There are no dentists in Thetford, Brandon or Needham Market accepting new NHS patients, but lists at practices in Newmarket and Sudbury are still open.
Simon Evans, locality director for NHS England, Midlands and East (East) said: “NHS England is committed to ensuring everyone can access high quality dental care. We are aware of the current situation in Bury and we are working with dental practices in the area to improve access for patients.
“NHS England is closely monitoring the situation in Bury and is actively exploring the future options for dental services in the area, both in the short and the longer term.”
Anyone needing urgent or emergency dental care should contact NHS 111 for advice. To search for practices accepting new NHS patients, go to www.nhs.uk or call the NHS 111 service.
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