Snettisham dentist practice closure ‘a blow to West Norfolk residents’
Concerns have been raised over the strain on the borough’s dental services after it has been revealed a practice is set to close next month.
Coastal Dental Practice in Snettisham, which is run by provider mydentist and is believed to have more than 10,000 patients on its books, is due to close on November 30.
One patient, who asked not to be named, said there is “nowhere else” for these people to access dental services.
He said: “I was there last week and I saw five or six different people come in asking to sign up, but it’s not accepting new patients. It’s going to leave a massive gap.”
Simon Evans, locality director for NHS England Midlands and East, said the decision had been taken by mydentist as it has experienced difficulties in recruiting dentists to work there and in managing its ongoing running costs.
He added: “Patients of the Coastal Dental Practice will soon receive a letter from mydentist to explain this decision and how they can find an alternative dentist.
“NHS England is working hard to ensure that everyone in the area has access to high quality NHS dental services.”
Mr Evans said anyone who is not sure where to go for local dental services can find out using the NHS 111 service or by visiting www.nhs.uk.
Officials from Healthwatch Norfolk, the consumer champion for health and social care, said they had only just been made aware of the plans.
Chief executive Alex Stewart said: “It appears NHS England have kept everyone in the dark as this is the first anyone in Norfolk has heard about the planned closure of Snettisham’s dental practice.
“This is a further blow to residents of West Norfolk following the huge disparities in dental provision highlighted in our report which went before Norfolk’s Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) earlier this year.”
Mr Stewart said they understand NHS England is seeking to increase capacity at other practices as an interim solution, but he believes there will be access issues for some patients, particularly young families and those reliant on public transport.
He added: “In light of this, we have requested HOSC call NHS England back before the committee to explain its actions and provide assurance to the public.”
The Lynn News approached mydentist but they were unavailable for comment.