North Lancashire Patients Face a Wait for Dental Treatment
Thousands of patients in North Lancashire are waiting to register with an NHS dentist, it has been revealed.
According to the most recent statistics, there are more than 6,000 people currently waiting to join an NHS register in the north of the county. Thousands more are travelling to other parts of the county to see a dentist.
NHS England has revealed plans to open a brand new NHS dental surgery in Lancaster in 2015. However, residents are angry about the current situation and some have already been trying to access treatment for a long period of time. Dr Joanna Heaton-Marriott is one of those patients getting increasingly frustrated with the situation, as she has been struggling to get her son Leo a dental appointment ever since he was a baby. He is now 3 years old.
Dr Heaton-Marriott stated that Leo was on the waiting list for a practice in Fenton Street from an early age, but the surgery was converted to an orthodontic practice and she has struggled to find an alternative ever since.
Head of primary care at NHS England in Lancashire, Jackie Forshaw, said that Morecambe and Lancaster have been identified as underserved areas and a new practice will open in Lancaster next year. However, 90% of respondents to the latest GP Patient Satisfaction Survey confirmed that they had been able to get an appointment with an NHS dentist. She also added that all patients have access to urgent dental care in the county.
Local MP, Eric Ollerenshaw, stated that the current contracting system is preventing people from seeing a dentist because it is too difficult to negotiate new contracts with practices and many dentists have chosen to go private because of the bureaucracy involved with treating NHS patients.
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