Dental patient numbers fall in Brighton

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Figures released by the Department of Health have revealed that there has been a significant decrease in the number of patients visiting their dentist in Brighton and Hove and East Sussex.

The figures, which show the total number of patients who visited a dentist over a two year period, have fallen from 253,811 between 2004 and 2006 to 245,857 between 2008 and 2010; this represents a decrease of almost 8,000 patients.

Health chiefs say the figures suggest that people living in Brighton and the surrounding area still believe that there is a shortage of NHS dentists in the region; however, in reality, the number of dentists has increased in recent years and a number of new practices have opened.

In contrast to the figures released for East Sussex and Brighton and Hove, figures for West Sussex have confirmed an increase in the number of patients visiting an NHS dentist. Patient numbers in West Sussex have risen from 293,496 in 2006 to 307,592 in 2010. Statistics also show a significant increase in patient numbers in Hastings and Rother. 59 percent of people have visited an NHS dentist in the last two years in Hastings and Rother, compared to 53 percent in Brighton and Hove and 51 percent in East Sussex Downs and Weald.

Cherie Young, dental commissioner from NHS Brighton and Hove, said that the NHS trust is working hard to improve services in the area and encourage people to visit their dentist on a regular basis. Plans for expansion in several areas of the county have been announced and it is hoped that more patients will register with their local dentists.

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