Kent patients queue overnight and practice receives 27,000 calls as new NHS places open up

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Queues formed overnight and a Kent dental practice received 27,000 calls after announcing that new NHS places would be made available.

Faversham Smiles announced that 60 new NHS places were up for grabs, with 20 available for the first people in the queue, 20 allocated to people calling the practice and a further 20 for those fastest to email. Following the update, the practice team was inundated with calls, with 27,000 people trying to get one of the 20 appointments. Long lines formed in the early hours of the morning and almost 700 people tried to email in the hope of securing a place.

Speaking the day after, practice manager Elli Cain said that since the practice opened at 8am on August 1st, more than 100 people had visited the clinic, there had been hundreds of emails and the phone system had logged over 25,000 calls.

The first 60 inquiries in person and via phone and email had resulted in the team booking 120 appointments. Elli said that she was aware that this figure was a drop in the ocean compared to the number of people trying to get an NHS appointment but asked that residents be as patient as possible, as the appointments that have been allocated are for the next few weeks, rather than months away.

To avoid similar situations in the future, the practice has now launched a rolling waiting list, which will allow patients to access appointments as and when there is capacity.

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