East Anglia dental patients brand waiting times ‘ridiculous’

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Patients in East Anglia have described waiting times for NHS treatment as ‘ridiculous.’

Recent figures show that almost 12,000 people in Ipswich and East Suffolk have tried and failed to get a dental appointment, with some patients trying for over a year to register with a local practice. 

Local resident, Emma Swift, who is diabetic, has been advised by her GP and care team to undergo regular dental checks, but she has been unable to register with an NHS surgery since moving to Manningtree more than a year ago. Dannielle Gibbs, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, is now going to Newmarket to see a dentist because she couldn’t find a practice closer to home. Another patient, Angela Hart, did manage to get a place and said that her dentist was brilliant, but lamented the fact that she had to wait 7 months for a check-up. 

News of delayed surgery openings, access issues and waiting times has prompted the British Dental Association to encourage the government to act urgently to increase funding and find a solution for the recruitment crisis within the NHS. The BDA has accused both Labour and Conservative governments of failing to put oral health on the agenda, suggesting that a lack of investment has contributed to a “perfect storm.”

Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn recently revealed plans to scrap band 1 charges, which include dental checks, while the Tory manifesto includes plans for record spending on the NHS.

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