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King's Lynn hospital worker feels let down by his dentist

An NHS worker has said he is feeling let down after struggling to find a dentist appointment with his usual practice.

Terry Smith, 55, who is a domestic staff member at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital could not get an appointment for his broken tooth at Wootton Road Dental Clinic.

He claims he was being turned away because the practice was concerned he could potentially have coronavirus from working at the hospital.

Terry Smith. Picture: SUBMITTED
Terry Smith. Picture: SUBMITTED

Mr Smith said: “They would expect to come to the hospital to get treatment but I can’t go the dentist. It’s not two-way.

“If they are not prepared to see me, are they prepared to see anyone in the NHS?”

He added that he was set to go to his appointment until a protocol telephone call from the practice asked him if he had any health issues 48 hours beforehand.

It was at this point that Mr Smith was questioned on his health.

On Wednesday, a staff member at the practice said: “We are open for emergencies but not for check-ups or treatment. We are referring patients to the Dental Access Centre on King Street.

“I ask every patient that question 48 hours before their check-up and he said I have not experienced anything but I do work at the hospital.

“I said to him ‘do you think it’s wise to come in’, but that we may still be able to see him.”

At the time of writing, the latest advice from the chief dental officer for England, Sara Hurley, instructs practices to “stop all non-urgent activity” in line with the changes to people’s lives which the Government announced on Monday.

Changes to primary dental care services, as announced by the chief officer, are a remote urgent care service providing telephone triage for patients with urgent needs.

She continues: “If the patient’s condition cannot be managed by these means, then they will need to be referred to the appropriate part of their Local Urgent Dental Care system.”

Mr Smith said his tooth was broken when eating a baguette and added he suffers with agoraphobia, and cannot travel far.

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