‘End of an era’ as historic dental practice is set to close
PUBLISHED: 16:41 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:41 19 March 2020
The last independent dental practice in a coastal town has announced it will be closing at the end of next month.
The D W Ferns and A P Yaxley dental surgery on Kirkley Cliff in Lowestoft will close its doors on April 30.
Having served thousands of patients, with a combined 76 years of joint service between them, the retirement of David Ferns and Andrew Yaxley next month will mark the “end of an era” for the historic surgery.
For there has been a NHS dental practice in operation on Kirkley Cliff since 1948.
Mr Ferns and Mr Yaxley have served the patients of the practice for 37 years and 39 years respectively.
A letter to patients, announcing the closure of the practice, states: “We would like to inform all our patients that this practice will close on April 30 due to the retirement of both Mr D W Ferns and Mr A P Yaxley.
“It was our sincere wish to find a buyer for the practice to ensure continuity of care for our patients and we have strived for over three years to find a suitable buyer.
“However it has proved impossible and reluctantly we have decided that closure is our only option.
“We fully intend to complete all courses of treatment under way, as far as possible, so that patients are not left midstream in a course of treatment.”
Counting many of the patients as friends, Mr Ferns and Mr Yaxley said: “We have not taken this decision lightly but have come to realise that we cannot go on forever, and our health and wellbeing must be looked after.”
For the past few years the pair have tried to find a buyer to take on the practice.
Mr Ferns said: “We look after 5,000 to 6,000 patients. I have been here since January 1983 and Andrew has been here 39 years – so we have 76 years of joint service between us.
“From 1983 to now, dentistry has changed and I really, really wanted to find someone to take over the place.”
Mr Yaxley said: “I shall miss it. We have had a very good client base and I will miss all the people you get to know over the years.
“I would like to say thank you to all of these people who have become friends and supported us over many, many years.”
With two full time nurses, two part time receptionists and a cleaner among the staff members, senior nurse Debbie Armes is the longest serving member of staff having worked at the dental practice for 33 years. She said: “It does feel sad as it is the end of an era.
“I started in 1987 and you become friends with the patients and their families as time goes on.”
■ If you wish to comment on the closure please call the NHS National Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233.
■ If you need help finding a new dentist visit www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist/results/NR33%200DF
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