NHS dentist's books full before it opens

A NEW NHS dentist practice has had to close its doors to patients before it even opens for business after being flooded with more than 2,000 new clients from as far afield as Cambridgeshire.

A NEW NHS dentist practice has had to close its doors to new patients before it even opens for business after being flooded with more than 2,000 new clients from as far afield as Cambridgeshire.

Dr Ayse Pekel will begin offering NHS treatment at the surgery from the middle of next month in Station Road, Stowmarket.

The practice was set up by Peter Barter, owner of the Starburst Dental Consultancy in Diss, who said the practice has the facilities for a second dentist, but so far no funding is available to pay for one and the list was closed this week.

Mr Barter, who owns the building, said: “We are not taking anyone else on now, we already have in excess of 2,000 patients and only funding for one dentist.

“Some people who have already applied will probably not be seen until December. If we could get funding for anther dentist we would put one in, we have another surgery within the building.

“There is certainly the demand, it's sad, but we have had to close the list before opening on April 10.”

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John Matthissen, a Great Finborough parish councillor who campaigned and led demonstrations calling for the new surgery, said: “There was a huge pile of applications as soon as the news broke. People needed to hurry to apply.

“It's a shame we are only getting one dentist, we obviously need more.”

The rush to sign up comes in the wake of a major campaign by residents after some people in Stowmarket found it impossible to sign on with an NHS dentist and have been travelling to Ipswich or Mildenhall to register with a national health practice.

Caroline Thornberry, head of contractor services for the Primary Care Trust, said she was very pleased by the uptake at the surgery.

But she said that the trust has got to prioritise to provide services across Suffolk and it has to take into account the current financial situation.

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