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“We’re having to travel for miles” People in south Norfolk village lament the loss of their dentist

PUBLISHED: 10:07 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:07 04 December 2018

Joyce Welford partially chose East Harling due to its medical facilities. Now the dentist has shut, she will have to take her ill husband to Attleborough. PHOTO: Sophie Smith

Joyce Welford partially chose East Harling due to its medical facilities. Now the dentist has shut, she will have to take her ill husband to Attleborough. PHOTO: Sophie Smith

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People living in a south Norfolk village which has been left without a dentist have told how they are now having to travel for miles to receive care, with some missing out altogether.

My Dentist, in East Harling, closed on November 30, leaving many residents without a reachable service. PHOTO: Sophie SmithMy Dentist, in East Harling, closed on November 30, leaving many residents without a reachable service. PHOTO: Sophie Smith

My Dentist, in East Harling near Attleborough, shut its doors for the last time on Friday, November 30. It had 3,545 patients. A company spokesman said difficulties in recruiting dentists and increased running costs forced the decision.

Joyce Welford, of Fenwillow Mews, said: “We had a letter come through, and we responded immediately and were lucky enough to get into Attleborough. It’s not as easy as that though. I’m my husband’s carer, so obviously having something here in the village was so much easier.

“It’s a real shame because it was one of the reasons we chose the village. It’s got a doctors, a dentists, a butcher’s shop, and if only the bus service was a little better because it’s very difficult to get to Attleborough.

“Trying from the village, unless you’ve got a car, you’re absolutely stuck. It’s a combination of finding somewhere affordable and nearby and transport.

“I will take my husband to Attleborough now. There may well be a parking problem because of its location so I may have to wheelchair him from the town. My husband is 16 stone and that’s no joke.”

Jamie Boyes, a taxi driver from Shimpling, said his wife, who is particularly scared of dentists, was upset by the closure as she felt safe with My Dentist and had built up a relationship. Mr Boyes said she was told she would have to travel more than 20 miles to Norwich to see the same pracitioner.

Retiree Margaret Scott, of White Hart Street, East Harling, said: “It’s had an effect on me, I’ve got a broken tooth and I’ve got an appointment at their extension at their head office - I can go in June next year. None of the others are taking NHS patients as far as I’m aware. At least I’ve got an appointment. They closed because they can’t get the dentists, so you can’t blame them. It’s inconvenient, added to which I don’t have a car. It’s a 20 mile drive. I know two eldely couples who had to give up driving because of their health, so they transferred to this dentists and they’re lumbered now aren’t they.”

Nick Shrapel said although My Dentists were “brilliant”, an increasing number of cancellations due to short staffing persuaded him to look elsewhere.

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