Concerns grow as Plymouth dental waiting list triples in size in 12 months

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Concerns about the provision of NHS dental care are growing in Plymouth, as the latest figures suggest that waiting list numbers have tripled in just 12 months.

Data released by NHS England showed that the number of people waiting to register with an NHS dentist has risen by 3,865 in the 12-month period leading up to November 2016. In total, 6,711 people are currently waiting to join an NHS dental register.

A spokesperson for the NHS said that despite the figures, the level of access in Plymouth continues to be better than the average for Devon and Cornwall and the rest of the South of England.

Gayle McDonald, a reporter from the local press, who lives in Liskeard, said that she has had experience of struggling to get an appointment in the South West. Earlier this month, she cracked a tooth, and set about trying to find a dentist. She had recently moved, and had not yet had chance to register, but when she asked about local services, she was informed that there was only one practice in Cornwall currently taking on new patients. She contacted a surgery in Bodmin, and was told there was a 12-month wait to see a dentist.

Figures suggest that there are more than 14,000 people waiting to register in Cornwall, where demand for dental services has increased significantly. A spokesperson for NHS England in the South West said that new practices have recently opened in Falmouth and Helston, and the board is working to try and ensure more people are able to see a dentist. The number of people who have seen a dentist in the last year is higher than the regional average, despite the waiting lists.

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