Southampton NHS dentists: Concerns grow over ‘minefield’

A SOUTHAMPTON woman who no longer has a dentist is among those calling for change to the sector.

Maureen Evans joined campaigners Toothless in Southampton on Tuesday to highlight the lack of accessible NHS dentists.

Maureen, a 65-year-old school transport escort, has been without a dentist for 15 months.

Daily Echo: Maureen EvansMaureen Evans (Image: Maya George, Newsquest)

She said: “Every time I get a dentist they end up going private, so I have not had one for those 15 months.

“I would like to have a check-up to make sure everything is fine. Luckily I’ve had no issues so far.”

READ MORE: Cyclist flies off bike smashing his teeth after hitting pothole

Campaigners set up on Burgess Road near Southampton University and handed out leaflets calling for ‘an NHS dentist for everyone.’

Passers-by were also encouraged to sign a petition to ensure there is a free dentist for all, which will be put to city councillors.

Campaigner Katie Cox described the situation as “a minefield.”

She said: “I work at a school so I constantly hear children asking, ‘how can I get a dentist’, or some don’t know how they are going to get seen.

“People who have moved into the area can’t sign up for a dentist either.

Daily Echo: Katie Cox (right) and Helen FieldKatie Cox (right) and Helen Field (Image: Maya George, Newsquest)

“Appointments get put off and put off, meaning things wait until it gets to a critical point.

“It is a minefield of issues.”

Another Southampton woman, who did not want to be named, said her two front teeth are on the verge of falling out.

She said: “I phoned the dentist up last year about it.

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“I had eight months until my appointment and I was delighted when I got it.

“I was given a deep clean and injections and they took some impressions for dentures and that was it.

“I have had pain for most of this year and it is believed to be gum disease. “I’m going to lose my front teeth but I don’t want to look gummy.”

Van driver David Peake said his father-in-law ended up paying to go private as the pain caused by an abscess in his mouth was so severe.

Daily Echo: David PeakeDavid Peake (Image: Maya George, Newsquest)

The 54-year-old from Southampton said: “I really sympathise with the fact people have had to pay to see a private dentist.

“My father-in-law couldn’t get into an NHS dentist. It’s certainly a concern but you can’t really blame the dentists.

“For Toothless press officer and campaigner Helen Field, it’s vital people are made aware of the issues faced.

She said: “It really worries me, especially when it comes to children’s dental health.

“The preventative aspect of things is so important and we need more dentists.

“I would like to see more forward planning from the government as they don’t seem to be doing this.

“I would hope Rishi Sunak, as the new Prime Minister, will do this but I do not hold out much hope.”

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