Church Street dentist Attleborough to close to NHS patients

10:32 AM September 13, 2022

A Norfolk dental surgery has become the latest to close its doors to NHS patients, blaming “a chronic lack of investment by successive governments”.

In an open letter to its patients posted on its website, the team at the Church Street Dental Practice in Attleborough announced it will see its last NHS patients on November 30.

The surgery will instead solely operate on a private basis, citing the departure of two of its dentists as the catalyst for the change.

Its statement reads: “For many years we have proudly provided care under the umbrella of the NHS but will no longer be doing so from December 1, 2022.

“Unfortunately, we have lost two dentists in the last two years due to a chronic lack of investment in NHS dentistry by successive governments.

“This has made it impossible for us to recruit and fill these vacancies.

“Coupled with rapidly rising costs this means we feel we cannot deliver the high standards of care you have come to expect and remain a viable business.”

The decision will add to the problems for dental patients in the region, with NHS appointments becoming harder and harder to access.

It comes just weeks after Manor House dentist in Long Stratton closed permanently, going into liquidation owing more than £400,000 to NHS England.

A national survey conducted by watchdog Healthwatch earlier this year found that one in five people locally said they could not access the treatment they needed and had turned to private health care.

The situation has seen the issue become the one complaint from patients the watchdog deals with most.

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

– Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Chief executive Alex Stewart has warned: “We get more phone feedback about the difficulty of accessing dental care than anything else. People are finding it impossible to access the help they need at a price they can afford, with some having no alternative but to seek private care or just go without treatment.

“In Norfolk, the lack of dentists is particularly acute as those practices keen to increase their NHS lists cannot find the staff for this to happen.”


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