NHS patients in Long Stratton were left with no options for emergency dental care after Manor House dental surgery closed

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Patients in Long Stratton have had no choice but to go private or go without after the town’s only NHS dental practice closed last week.

With 90% of NHS dental practices in Britain not accepting new patients, those who used Manor House dental surgery now face a ‘bleak’ reality, an adviser has warned.

The firm, in La Rue, closed its doors for the last time on Friday August 5th.

Cllr Alison Thomas described the situation for patients at Long Stratton as “bleak”. Photographed by Mecha Morton.

The owners of Simply Smile also run a private dental practice, Netherton, less than 200 yards away in The Street. It is currently unclear whether this will remain open or not.

With Norfolk and Waveney being among the areas most affected by the shortage of dentists in the country, many former Manor House patients have been warned that it will be “impossible” for them to join a new practice.

Long Stratton councilor Alison Thomas said she could give her worried constituents little advice other than to try to make sure they didn’t need emergency treatment.

“It’s really quite grim,” said Cllr Thomas, who also chairs Norfolk County Council’s Health and Overview Review Committee.

“Dentistry is already under huge pressure and people are struggling to find an NHS dentist which is only making it worse.

“Manor House only dealt with emergencies, but at least we had an emergency service – now all we have is a massive vacuum.

“If people are not able to pay for private treatment, where do they go?

“If someone says there’s an appointment you can get in Harleston or Diss and people don’t have transportation, how do they get there?

“I have to tell people that the only advice I can give is to be picky about your dental hygiene.”

Healthwatch Norfolk, the county’s health watchdog, said the closure would only exacerbate what is already a dire situation for patients.

Chief executive Alex Stewart said: “We are concerned about the closure of Manor House surgery in Long Stratton and the impact this will have on patients, given the difficulties in obtaining non-emergency dental treatment from the NHS.

“Over 50% of our inquiries now relate to this issue and the loss of this practice will leave even more patients struggling to get treatment.

“We are constantly impressing on health officials and MPs in Norfolk the seriousness of the situation.

“Although a national problem, recent surveys have shown that Norfolk is one of the
places to join a practice as
NHS patient is impossible at the moment
time.

“Healthwatch Norfolk continues to lobby regionally and nationally for an urgent plan
to deal with this problem which is likely to have an impact on the oral health of people
the county for generations without
Immediate action.”

A spokesperson for NHS East of England added: “We are committed to ensuring that everyone can access high quality dental care in Norfolk and are working closely with dental providers to improve access to dental care. services, including inviting NHS contract holders to undertake additional activities.

“We are investigating the closure of the Manor House dental practice and will work with contract holders to explain how we can provide accessible and efficient dental care in the area.”

Simply Smile did not respond when approached by The Diss Express for comment.



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