DENTAL patients have come forward to tell The Argus about their struggle to get an appointment after practices hit their NHS quota.
It comes after we reported that people in need of urgent dental treatment were unable to get NHS treatment due to lack of space for new patients.
We have heard from a number of Mid Sussex residents who have been forced to go without treatment because they cannot afford the cost of private care.
A 35-year-old woman, identified only as Detti, has contacted to express concerns that many families and children are not receiving the support they need.
Detti, a family support worker, said: “This means the most vulnerable families and individuals will not be able to get the appropriate and essential dental hygiene support they need.”
Her own dentist contacted her at the end of June, telling her that in order to provide the best quality of care, he would no longer offer NHS services from July.
Due to his full-time job as a support worker, Detti is also unable to fund private funding for dental procedures.
She said: “This has an impact on my children as they cannot be registered if I do not follow the policies in practice.
“It shouldn’t be a privilege to have a dentist appointment.
“It’s the simple lack of care and understanding of people’s basic needs. It has nothing to do with raising standards and everything to do with making money.
“This is only possible to the extent that it appears that there are government regulations that would protect people’s basic rights to health care.”
While Hannah Keeling, of Haywards Heath, has not been able to see a dentist for over three years due to her inability to pay private rates.
She was left to suffer as her wisdom teeth came out.
She said: ‘I couldn’t get a private date when I was working full time, let alone an NHS date, before the pandemic.
“Now, after the pandemic, I am working as a Universal Credit backed caregiver and still cannot get an appointment because I cannot afford the private expenses.
‘The lack of NHS dentists is a shame, those on low incomes and those with children are going to end up costing the NHS more in the future for problems that could be avoided if they had access to proper and affordable care . ”
Elena Trabucchi, 31, moved to Haywards Heath to settle down and raise a family, but was shocked by the lack of public services.
She thinks Clair Hall should become a dental practice and that would help solve the problem.
“After three years of living here I still do not have an NHS dentist and the private costs are at least double that of the NHS price list,” she said.
“A £ 60 NHS hygienist appointment costs £ 120 at a private clinic.”
The NHS approves the allocation for dentists across England and has said there has been no reduction in funding for NHS dental services in West Sussex.
However, since 2020 some West Sussex dentists have chosen to end their contracts and new temps have been offered to existing practices to provide additional treatment.
Earlier this week, MP for Mid Sussex, Mims Davies said: “I am aware that there are strong capacity constraints for NHS dental services in the Mid Sussex area, which were raised with me by of voters affected and exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic.
“I would like to point out this shortfall and have made numerous representations to NHS England, which contracts out dental services.
“They assured me that they are working on a plan to improve local availability and I will keep the pressure on demanding results for residents of Mid Sussex.”
An NHS spokeswoman said: ‘Dentists have continued to treat people who need urgent treatment throughout the pandemic and if anyone needs urgent dental treatment they can call n any dental office to access it.
“Dentists continue to follow strict infection control guidelines allowing patients to be seen safely against Covid, which means they are able to treat fewer people than usual. ”
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