Man flew 700 miles to find dentist

A DISGRUNTLED Ipswich man FLEW on a 700-mile round trip to Cornwall – just to see a dentist, the Evening Star can reveal today.Clynton Husband was given real toothache when told he might have to wait up to two years for an NHS appointment in Ipswich.

A DISGRUNTLED Ipswich man FLEW on a 700-mile round trip to Cornwall – just to see a dentist, the Evening Star can reveal today.

Clynton Husband was given real toothache when told he might have to wait up to two years for an NHS appointment in Ipswich.

But because he had work commitments and needed treatment, he felt he had no option but to fork out £200 for the flight, when a check-up here would have cost only £20.

Mr Husband, of Hatfield Road, Ipswich, who recently moved from lifelong hometown Liskeard, said: "I rang round several dentists here with no luck - one said there was a waiting time of two years.

"I was busy at work and it was taking up time which I didn't have because I needed my teeth looked at. I had no alternative but to ring a dentist at home who offered me an space within a week."

The assistant estimator at a building company in Framlingham, near Woodbridge, was forced to miss work last Friday to honour the appointment.

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The 21-year-old said: "I struggled to get time off work. I managed to get Friday off, but I have to come back on Sunday to catch up, so I had to fly.

"This was the only way I would get my teeth looked at in an acceptable time."

His plight comes amid reports that fewer than 15 per cent of dental practices in Suffolk are taking on new NHS adult patients.

More worryingly, in the Ipswich Primary Care Trust area, where 29 practices are listed, just two are taking on adults.

Mr Husband said: "I am annoyed and frustrated. I think the NHS is in a serious state and it needs to be sorted out.

"It seems an outrage that we pay taxes for a service we don't receive. More dentists should be made available for people who move areas."

The Government knows it is a problem. Earlier this month health secretary John Reid pledged to bring an extra 1,000 dentists into the NHS by October 2005 in a bid to improve services.

Mr Reid said: "I want more people to be able to see an NHS dentist. So we are investing an extra £368 million in NHS dentistry, recruiting 1,000 more NHS dentists in little over a year and reforming the dental system to improve the long term oral health of the nation."

Jan Rowsell, of Ipswich Primary Care Trust, added: "There is a nationwide shortage of dentists, but in east Suffolk we are working hard in partnership with dentists to look at how we can make sure there are enough NHS places in the future.

"If you need emergency treatment there is a dental line for emergency appointments every day for people who need emergency dental treatment."

Have you taken drastic action to see an NHS dentist? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

COSTS –

- Return flight from Stansted to Newquay: £192.50

- Check-up at private dentist: £40

- Check-up and clean on NHS dentist: £15-20

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