A dental charity is set to make its fifth visit to Suffolk to treat patients who are unable to access NHS care as campaigners warn of “deep and wide health inequalities” in dental care in the county.
Dentaid will be bringing its mobile clinic to Haverhill on Thursday, February 2 and Sudbury on Friday, February 3 to provide free emergency treatment for people in the local community.
In July, the EADT reported how one million NHS dental appointments had been lost in Suffolk over the last two years, while only one district – Mid Suffolk – was taking on new NHS patients.
Previously, the Dentaid clinics, organised by campaign group Toothless in Suffolk, have visited Leiston and Bury St Edmunds, spending four days in the towns in November 2021 and February 2022, treating 163 patients.
The charity also visited Haverhill in October, seeing 35 patients.
Dentaid chief executive Andy Evans said: “We are looking forward to returning to Suffolk and helping people in the Haverhill and Sudbury communities out of dental pain.
“Previous experience shows us there is huge demand for our charitable dental services and we expect there to be long queues this time too.”
The clinics will take place on Dentaid’s mobile dental units and treatments available will include fillings and extractions in addition to oral cancer screening and dental health advice.
They will be held in Haverhill Market Square outside St Mary’s Church and outside Sudbury Town Hall from 10am – 4pm.
Appointments aren’t necessary, but Dentaid is advising people to arrive early and be prepared to wait.
Attendees must live in the Haverhill or Sudbury area and be currently experiencing dental pain and have no other way of accessing dental care.
Mark Jones, co-founder of Toothless in Suffolk, said: “When we initially invited Dentaid to Suffolk, we knew there’d be a big demand, because people from across the county were posting about it on our Toothless in Suffolk Facebook group.
“This will be Dentaid’s fifth visit to Suffolk and it goes to show just how deep and wide the health inequalities are when it comes to NHS dental care provision in the county.
“But Suffolk is not unique in this regard.
“What we are witnessing is the result of a managed decline in this NHS service which the government began back in 2006, by imposing a contract onto the dentists which they were repeatedly warned would not serve the best interests of the patients.”