Suffolk and Essex residents to benefit from 18,000 hours of additional dental appointments

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Residents in Suffolk and Essex are set to benefit from 18,000 hours of additional dental appointments.

A new contract will provide 18,000 hours of appointments per year, which will be available to patients in Suffolk and North East Essex.

The additional appointments will be provided by the University of Suffolk Dental Community Interest Company at a facility based at the University of Suffolk campus in Ipswich. The new contract is worth £2.2 million.

It is hoped that the new service will be up and running by winter. The aim is to boost capacity in the region.

Despite the positive news, some local residents and councillors have voiced concerns about travelling from Essex to Suffolk to see a dentist and finding free or affordable parking close to the clinic. Its location within the James Hehir Building in Ipswich means that it may be difficult to find free parking in the waterfront area, which is notoriously busy.

Pam Cox, the Labour parliamentary candidate for Colchester, said that the additional appointments won’t relieve pressure on dental services in the Essex city. Research suggests that there are currently only three practices taking on new NHS patients in Colchester, including two that have long waiting lists.

Associate director of strategic change for NHS Suffolk and North East Essex, Lizzie Mappleback, said that there was no miracle cure or quick fix to the dental crisis. She added that every effort is being made to expand services and increase capacity as fast as possible.

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