Thousands of people waiting to register with an NHS dentist in Plymouth
More than 9,000 people are waiting to join an NHS dental register in Plymouth, it has been revealed. Figures show that 9,127 people, including 1,677 under 18’s, are currently on a waiting list.
The situation has prompted local councillors and public health officials to call for urgent help. Councillor Sue McDonald said that at the moment, if you’re looking for an NHS dental place in Plymouth, there’s every chance that you’d be advised to travel 70 miles to practices in towns like Seaton in Devon. Even if you drive and you’re not dependent on public transport, this could eat up to 6 hours of the day, which presents problems for those who work and children who should be at school. There’s the cost of travel to consider too.
Councillors encouraged Plymouth’s director of public health, Dr Ruth Harrell, to write to NHS England and urge them to improve access to NHS dentistry urgently. Dr Harrell is also planning to contact Jeremy Hunt.
Councillor Lynda Bowyer suggested that many practices are having difficulty recruiting dental staff and this is resulting in them having to decrease the number of places available. Despite the figures, which make for worrying reading, Cllr Bowyer did say that NHS England has acquired additional work from five practices in Plymouth, which could create up to 6,000 new places. Councillors also suggested that local patients could make use of discounted treatments offered by students at Peninsula School of Dentistry. Students offer a wide range of services and the work they do is overseen by a supervisor.
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