Survey highlights lack of dentists

A SHOCKING lack of NHS dentists in Ipswich has today been highlighted by a new survey.A door-to-door survey carried out by the Liberal Democrats in Ipswich's Westgate ward over the past month found that 60 out of 186 households did not have an NHS dentist.

A SHOCKING lack of NHS dentists in Ipswich has today been highlighted by a new survey.

A door-to-door survey carried out by the Liberal Democrats in Ipswich's Westgate ward over the past month found that 60 out of 186 households did not have an NHS dentist. Of these, 55 had tried to get an NHS dentist and could not.

Andrew Cann, leader of Suffolk County Council's liberal democrats group, said: “I had heard anecdotally that people were having trouble getting an NHS dentist but it's shocking to find that over a third of the people in this area had not been able to get a dentist.

“I suspect that the changes in the government's contract for dentists has led to this situation where people now find themselves forced to go private or not have a dentist at all.”

Mr Cann said he will be writing to Carole Taylor-Brown, chief executive of the Suffolk PCT, to express his concern.

Latest figures from the NHS Direct website show that the problem is not confined to Ipswich.

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There are 35 dental practices in Ipswich, of which only seven are taking on NHS patients.

Figures for the whole of Suffolk show that there are 96 practices - with only 17 taking on new NHS patients.

However, a spokesman for Suffolk Primary Care Trust denied that the situation had worsened.

He said: “Access to NHS dentistry has improved across the whole of Suffolk.

“Before the dental contract was introduced in April, very few dental practices in Suffolk - possibly, only one or two - were accepting new NHS patients.

“There are now 17 practices accepting new adult patients and 20 accepting children.

“There are currently 96 practices treating NHS patients in Suffolk today.”

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