Dental patients' second chance

A NEW NHS dentist forcing her to close her books before even opening, today said families will get another chance to register.The new practice, in Station Road West, Stowmarket, after officially opened this week in the wake of a major campaign by residents.

A NEW NHS dentist forcing her to close her books before even opening, today said families will get another chance to register.

The new practice, in Station Road West, Stowmarket, after officially opened this week in the wake of a major campaign by residents.

Before opening the business was swamped with 2,000 patients in just three weeks.

Some people in the town found it impossible to sign on with an NHS dentist and had been travelling to Ipswich or Mildenhall to register with a national health practice.

However, now new dentist Dr Aysenil Pekel, who had been working as an associate in Felixstowe until the end of last month, is reassuring people that there will be another chance to apply in September.

Dr Pekel, whose surgery has attracted patients from as far afield as Cambridgeshire, said: “I hope to take on more patients later in the year. But I need to be sure the patients I have now are well-served first.”

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Great Finborough parish councillor John Matthissen, a Green Party campaigner who led the calls for a new NHS dentist and started a petition signed by 1,200 people, welcomed the move but said he and his colleagues will now be calling for another dentist to further help ease the crisis.

He said: “Dentistry is not an optional luxury, it a basic health necessity which should be available to all, regardless of means.

“We know there are many people who have not been able to sign up with this practice, which is fully subscribed for the present, so we will renew our campaign to get a second dentist there.”

The new dental centre was established by Peter Barter, owner of the Starburst Dental Consultancy in Diss, who said it has facilities for a second dentist, but had received no funding for another.

Suffolk Primary Care Trust's chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown said: “Before the new dental contract was introduced nationally in April last year, there were two dental practices accepting NHS patients in Suffolk, excluding Waveney.

“Now we have 15 practices accepting NHS patients, which means the service is much more accessible.”

N Have you had trouble finding an NHS dentist? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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