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Coastal Dental Practice in Snettisham set to close

PUBLISHED: 09:23 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:51 12 October 2018

Coastal Dental Practice, at Snettisham, which closes at the end of November  Picture: Chris Bishop

Coastal Dental Practice, at Snettisham, which closes at the end of November Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A dentist’s practice is set to close, forcing thousands of patients to find a new surgery.

Coastal Dental Practice, which is one of 600 run by national provider mydentist, is set to close at the end of November. Patients are being sent letters advising them of closure.

Practice manager Sarah Briscoe said: “I can confirm that the company that owns us is closing us.

“When the letter goes out to patients, there are practices in the company that will accept new patients but I can’t confirm what practices.”

As well as Snettisham, which currently has a single dental clinician, mydentist also has practices 10 miles away in King’s Lynn.

A spoksman for the company said: “In common with a number of other dental practices in the area difficulties in recruiting dentists and increased running costs have forced us to discuss closing the practice with the NHS. Once these discussions are complete patients will be updated of any changes.”

Alex Stewart, chief executive of consumer group Healthwatch Norfolk 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.

“We understand that NHS England are seeking to increase capacity at other practices in the area as an interim solution but there will undoubtedly be access issues for some patients, particularly for young families and those reliant on public transport.

“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.”

Earlier this year, it emerged dental provision in West Norfolk was among the worst in the region.

In May a report to HOSC said of the 13 dental practices available in the area, only one was currently accepting new adult NHS patients.

It said that less than 60pc of children and less than 50pc of adults in King’s Lynn had visited an NHS dentist in the last two years.

West Norfolk also had fewer NHS dentists per head of population than the average for Norfolk - 61 dentists, which equates to 2,855 patients per dentist.

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