‘Hundreds’ of people queue for NHS dentist

After a dental practice in Norfolk announced it will be taking on new NHS patients, hundreds of people were reportedly queueing outside this morning. 

After a dental practice in Norfolk announced it would be taking on new NHS patients, hundreds of people were reportedly queueing outside this morning. 

Over 300 people were allegedly queuing this morning for an NHS dentist in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

This came after dental practice Smile Dental Care posted on its website: ‘We will be taking on new NHS patients from 2nd May.’

One person estimated that over 300 people were queuing outside of the practice, with some people reportedly waiting since 4am.

This follows the BBC investigation into NHS dentistry which revealed that Norfolk has one of the lowest numbers of dentists per 10,000 people in England.

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Twitter user @elliebwick posted an image of the queue, saying: ‘Is this a queue for a gig? To meet a celebrity? No. It’s a queue of people trying to get into the only dentist in Norfolk taking on NHS patients.’

‘If you wanna know the state of the UK right now, just take a look at this pic,’ she said.

She later added: ‘For context, the dentist are taking on 100 NHS patients today, I was queuing and had to leave as I need to pick my son up at 10:30 and I know I’m not getting in. Absolutely ridiculous.’

Disturbing images

Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association (BDA) General Dental Practice Committee, said he was not surprised or shocked by the image.

‘They are very disturbing images and they are a sad reflection of the crisis in NHS dentistry,’ he said.

He added: ‘The scenes that we have just seen are sad. They’re disturbing. My sympathy goes out to everybody in the queue, but this is a wealthy 21st century nation.

‘Dentistry is meant to be a core part of our NHS. But we’re now seeing scenes you’d expect outside bakeries in the Soviet Bloc.

‘Frankly, it’s just not appropriate in 2023 in the UK.’

He also said that urgent and ambitious action is needed from the government, rather than tweaks to the current system. If the government fails to do this, Shawn said his colleagues ‘worry that this service will be lost forever.’

‘We must do something now. The prime minister talked about NHS dentistry being a priority and I hope he will keep that promise.’

This comes after new research showed that millions of children have not been seen by an NHS dentist for at least a year due to access issues.

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