NHS England working to restore village dental services in Northumberland

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NHS England is working to restore dental services to villages in Northumberland, it has been confirmed.

Pauline Fletcher, from NHS England, met with councillors earlier this week (Tuesday 16th January) to provide an update on NHS dental services following the closure of surgeries located at Broomhill Health Centre. Ms Fletcher said that services had been shut down due to the dentist who ran the practices in Rothbury and Hadston experiencing difficult personal circumstances that meant that he could no longer fulfil the NHS contract. When the surgeries closed, the NHS informed patients that places were available at alternative practices in the area.

At the meeting, Ms Fletcher informed councillors that there is currently sufficient space at other local practices, but admitted that some patients were having to travel further as a result of the geography of the area. Patients who are experiencing difficulty accessing services due to the nature of the roads and public transport links are able to take advantage of offers, including a return taxi fare of £12 from Hadston or Rothbury to Alnwick, which has been arranged with a local taxi company.

Ms Fletcher confirmed that new posts had been advertised, but there had been little interest due to the remote location of the roles.

Despite the NHS’ assurances, local councillor, Steven Bridgett, said that the meeting hadn’t filled him with confidence and questioned whether NHS England was even looking to fill the vacant posts.

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