Thousands come off waiting list for NHS dentist

THOUSANDS of would-be dental patients have come off the NHS waiting list through the opening of four practices in North Yorkshire, with the promise of more places to come to prevent queues for treatment. The primary care trust has announced the new surgeries in Scarborough, York, Richmond and Harrogate are now fully operational, treating NHS patients as part of its commitment to improving access to NHS services.

NHS dentistry has been politically sensitive in Scarborough for years since photographs of huge queues of people waiting to register with a Dutch dentist made headlines around the world. The dentist involved was later forced to leave town when it was revealed she had a criminal conviction in her own country over an incident involving an assault on the man who bought her old practice.

However, the new county-wide primary care trust (PCT) now says NHS treatment is back on track, with 3,934 people allocated an NHS dentist. It says over the next three years more than 20,000 new dental places will be available more than the number waiting to be registered.

North Yorkshire and York PCT's director of commissioning and service development, Jane Marshall, said: "We're confident that by putting these new services in place people who want to see an NHS dentist will be able to do so.

"Although NHS dentistry has received a fair amount of bad press recently, here in North Yorkshire people have access to very good services and the majority of people who want NHS care can get it. Anyone who is still in need of an NHS dentist should contact the PCT ..."

The PCT is running a database for people wanting NHS dental care. People who add their names are contacted as and when NHS places become available in their area. Registration can be done online via the PCT's website, , by email at [email protected]  or by phoning 01904 724107.