Six new dental practices to open across Norfolk and Waveney
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Areas of Norfolk and Waveney where there aren't enough dentists could soon be served by six new practices.
NHS England is inviting tenders for two new surgeries in King's Lynn, one in Norwich and one in Fakenham, Thetford and Lowestoft.
Procurement papers state the new services are expected to start on July 1, 2022, and contracts will last for four years and nine months with extensions of up to a further three years.
They add: "Premises are to be accessible to serve the main population densities and located near good public transport links and road networks. The service is to be open from 8am to 8pm, 365 days per year."
West Norfolk currently has the lowest number of dentists in the country, with 3.4 per 10,000 population according to the National Audit Office. Almost a fifth of people are unable to access an NHS dentist.
The situation has become worse since Mydentist closed its High Street practice in King's Lynn in Novermber 2020. It came two years after the group closed its surgery in Dersingham.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild said: "After a delay caused by Covid, I am pleased that this procurement exercise to increase access to dentists in West Norfolk is now under way.
"This is a long-running issue and I have consistently raised the need for more capacity so that people can get the dental treatment they need. If you need urgent assistance then call 111 who can help arrange this.”
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Anyone needing urgent dental care and is not registered at a dental practice or needs to see a dentist out of hours should call NHS 111.
Only go to A&E in serious circumstances, such as severe pain, heavy bleeding and injuries to the face, mouth or teeth. Anyone not sure whether they need to go to A&E should contact NHS 111, which will be able to advise.
If after contacting several dental surgeries someone cannot find a dentist accepting NHS patients, call NHS England's Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233.