'I cannot work this way' - Dentist defends decision to go private

Teresa Kleinhans works at Wensum Dental Practice in Fakenham.

Teresa Kleinhans works at Wensum Dental Practice in Fakenham. - Credit: Teresa Kleinhans

A Fakenham dentist has said the current state of her industry has made her fall out of love with her job.

Teresa Kleinhans works at Wensum Dental Practice in Fakenham. Mrs Kleinhans has recently decided to go private after her associate dentist handed in her notice to work at another private practice.

The news angered people in the community, which caused the 54-year-old to defend her decision on Facebook.

Teresa Kleinhans works at Wensum Dental Practice in Fakenham

Teresa Kleinhans works at Wensum Dental Practice in Fakenham - Credit: Teresa Kleinhans

She said the state of dentistry since last June has made her fall out of love with her work.

“I hope that people can understand that I care about my patients and I want to do the best for them but I also need to care about me," she said.


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“I always said I love my job, and I wanted to work until I drop dead but I cannot work this way."

Wensum Dental Practice on Norwich Road.

Wensum Dental Practice on Norwich Road. - Credit: Teresa Kleinhans

Mrs Kleinhans qualified in 1994, and has been at the Fakenham practice for the last 15 years.

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She said there are currently a range of issues within the industry, from a shortage of dentists coming through to a huge backlog of patients as a result of the pandemic. Practice hours have shot up, with most working five days a week, with wall to wall patients.

The dentist also said there are unrealistic NHS targets, which if she does not meet will result in financial penalties.

Teresa Kleinhans works at Wensum Dental Practice in Fakenham

Teresa Kleinhans works at Wensum Dental Practice in Fakenham - Credit: Teresa Kleinhans

She wants to reassure people that the move to private practice will still mean she can offer affordable dental treatment.

But, she said, this new freedom will allow her to dictate her own hours and the freedom to pick what she believes is the best course of treatment.

"I feel bad for my patients, I feel bad for dentists and everyone working in the NHS," she said.

Wensum Dental Practice on Norwich Road.

Wensum Dental Practice on Norwich Road. - Credit: Teresa Kleinhans

Mrs Kleinhans said she will continue to provide NHS treatment in the Norwich Street practice until November 1. 

Nothing will change until then as she still has treatment to finish off, and targets to meet until that time.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to supporting the dental sector throughout this unprecedented pandemic so everyone across the country can access affordable, high-quality dental care.

“All dental practices have been able to deliver their full range of face-to-face care since last June, with over 600 practices providing additional support for urgent dental treatment."

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