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NHS dentists crisis is unbelievable, Lynn News letters

I have been suffering from a broken tooth and missing filling for almost two weeks now. I was registered with a dentist up to about a year ago when they decide to shut down.

Since then I have tried to find a dentist within 25 miles willing to take on new patients. The NHS website states quite a few dentists taking emergency cases, but this is untrue or has not been updated as I have tried them all.

My only option was The NHS Dental Access Centre, in King Street, Lynn. This is where my main complaint is centred.

Concerns over the number of dentists taking on NHS patients
Concerns over the number of dentists taking on NHS patients

You are told to ring the centre as close to opening times as possible to get an appointment for that day. You cannot attend and book an appointment, even if it is for a later date.

So I started ringing from 8am. It usually goes straight to voicemail with the message ‘’we are either closed or experiencing a high volume of calls, please ring back later’’. Because this goes straight to voicemail it is costing you money every time you redial. I did this on the first day. On two occasions it actually started ringing, but rang for just over three minutes, then it hung up!

As you can imagine I was not best pleased. I was on the phone for almost an hour by then, very stressed and in some discomfort. I decided to try the following morning, and started to call the centre at 8am. I was on the phone for almost one-and-a-half hours. During that time I got through four times and four times I was hung up upon.

Frustration got the better of me and I drove to the centre. I asked the receptionist, why are you hanging up on me? She said it’s the way the three lines work there. If nobody picks up, it automatically hangs up.

It’s a totally unacceptable and ridiculous system, when I asked what could I do now, she said I can only tell you to try to keep ringing.

What happened next was almost beyond belief. I said I would have to complain and I was astounded when she actually thanked me for complaining, adding that they have been complaining for ages that there should be a different system.

I cannot believe in this day and age that finding a dentist is on a par with discovering the Holy Grail.

I am lucky, I have access to a phone and transport, how about the people who don’t? I presume they are doing what I am now forced to do – my own dentistry. I have had to purchase atemporary filler. I find it unbelievable, it’s like something you hear of people resorting to living in a third world country.

Tony Darling


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