‘He was screaming out in pain’ - Family’s struggle to get six-year-old a dentist appointment
PUBLISHED: 10:58 25 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:05 25 September 2020
A six-year-old boy with toothache was left in “absolute agony” unable to eat or drink after he couldn’t get an emergency appointment at his registered dentist.
Alfie Brewster, from Thurgarton in North Norfolk, started getting toothache on Monday, September 21, and on the following day the youngster was in agony so his family called his dentist Together Dental in Sheringham, to get him an emergency appointment.
The family was told Alfie would be triaged and called back on Thursday, but concerned this was not soon enough the family called 111 and other dental practices to see if they could get him an appointment elsewhere.
Michelle Robinson, Alfie’s grandmother, said: “All the other [dentists] said he should be seen as soon as possible, but because he was registered in Sheringham he should be seen there.
“On Wednesday he got sent home from school so we rang Sheringham back, [Alfie] was just screaming out in pain pleading for a dentist.”
After contacted their dentist again, Alfie’s family were told the earliest the youngster could be seen was September 29 because of reduced staffing levels at the practice.
Alfie was eventually seen by another dentist, more than 30 miles from his home, but his family have criticised his Sheringham practice for not being able to offer him an appointment sooner.
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Miss Robinson said: “I just feel this is not a duty of care especially with children. I work within social care so I know who pressurised things are, they’re saying they are working on reduced staff but why?
“It really concerns me what we have had to go through, all [the surgery] said was if he’s in pain or he starts to swell you’ll have to take him to hospital.
“I’m so angry, the way it’s been handled a little child of six shouldn’t have to wait a week in absolute agony,” she said.”
In response to Miss Robinson’s concerns, a spokesperson for Together Dental Sheringham, said; “We sincerely regret to hear about Alfie’s recent experience. We take our role at the centre of the community’s healthcare seriously. One bad experience is one too many for us.
“We pride ourselves on our excellent family friendly customer service. It is true that we have been stretched due to Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions, and in trying to see as many people as safely as possible.
“This means we can see less people face to face. We are following the NHS Standard Operating Procedures.”
The practice said its records showed Alfie was triaged on September 23 with a further appointment made for the September 24 followed by a face-to-face appointment September 29.
The practice said: “We apologise unreservedly and hope that Alfie is okay.”
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