Concern as patients struggle to access NHS dentists in Harborough

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Concerns have been raised about the lack of services from NHS dentists in Harborough.

Concerns have been raised about the lack of services from NHS dentists in Harborough.

Councilor Phil Knowles said residents are struggling to access dental care across the city, with no dentists currently caring for patients unless they are referred.

It comes after Brookside Dental announced earlier this year that it was being forced to stop providing NHS treatment to thousands of patients. It comes after it was unable to recruit a new dentist to treat NHS people, despite being advertised for the position last year.

NHS treatment will end for 4,500 adult patients in October, although the St Mary’s Road practice is in talks to retain part of its NHS contract so it can continue to treat the 1,500 children on its books.

Brookside says the shortage of NHS dentists is a national problem and has had no choice but to make the difficult decision which will leave many people trying to find another NHS practice to s ‘to register.

Cllr Knowles has hit out at the lack of local supply, with the NHS website saying there are no NHS dentists available for self-referrals in the area.

He said: “People in Harborough, Leicestershire, across the East Midlands should know if they are suffering or facing a health emergency that the NHS is there for them. Yet it indicates that NHS dentistry is in many ways at breaking point.

“People are being forced to spend hundreds if not thousands of pounds on private dental care, with some even having their own home dentistry. Something must be done, and soon.

The leader of the Harborough district Liberal Democrats is calling on the Minister of Health to intervene as many residents are being forced onto long waiting lists due to lack of NHS appointments.

The party is also calling for plans to recruit more local NHS dentists to be presented.

But an NHS spokeswoman said the change was underway and reminded residents they could look outside the local area to find NHS dentists to provide treatment.

She said: “The NHS recently announced the first reforms to dentistry services since 2006 which will support practices to improve access, including giving high performing practices the chance to increase their business and treat more patients – discussions about other changes that benefit patients and staff are ongoing.

“Infection prevention and control measures to protect staff and patients were introduced during the pandemic, limiting the number of procedures NHS dentists could perform, but have now been lifted so dental teams can operate. at full capacity for the first time in two years, so anyone concerned about their dental health should contact their local dentist as they usually would or seek advice from NHS 111.”

NHS contract dentists are paid to provide a number of treatments and follow-ups but may carry out private work outside of their contract.

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