MP welcomes plan to bring new NHS dental services to King's Lynn
New NHS dental services are set to be made available in Lynn from next summer, it has emerged today.
Health chiefs have begun a procurement process for seven service contracts across Norfolk and Suffolk, with applications closing next month.
Of those, two are to be based in Lynn, with a third operating from Fakenham.
The lack of NHS dental provision in West Norfolk has previously been labelled a "scandal" by a leading professional body.
And patients have told of either having to travel up to 70 miles from Lynn to get an appointment or taking matters into their own hands.
Earlier this year, a survey conducted by North West Norfolk MP James Wild suggested three-quarters of constituents were unhappy with the level of NHS provision, while more than a third were not registered with a dentist at all.
And he has welcomed the latest developments today.
He said: “After a delay caused by Covid, I am pleased that this procurement exercise to increase access to dentists in West Norfolk is now underway.
“This is a long-running issue and I have consistently raised the need for more capacity so that people can get the dental treatment they need.
“If you need urgent assistance then call 111 who can help arrange this.”
The new agreements are expected to begin next July and run for an initial period of four years and nine months, though they could be extended for up to three years beyond that.
The Lynn agreements are each expected to deliver nearly 22,000 units of dental activity (UDAs) per year, while the Fakenham deal would allow for around 15,000.
Tender information for the contracts, which are being procured by NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: "Premises are to be accessible to serve the main population densities and located near good public transport links and road networks.
"The service is to be open from 8am to 8pm, 365 days per year."
The closing date for tender submissions is September 13 and bidders can submit applications for all seven of the available service agreements.
As well as those in Lynn and Fakenham, the contracts cover Norwich, Thetford, Lowestoft and Leiston.
A regional NHS spokesman said today: “We are committed to ensuring everyone can access high quality dental care, and we are pleased to currently be in the process of procuring new dental services for Norfolk and Suffolk which will provide new services for adults and children, operating from 8am-8pm, 7 days a week for routine as well as urgent appointments.
“Urgent and emergency dental care is available for those who need it, and people should continue to use the NHS 111 service for advice on where to go.”