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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Recruits will ease dentist crisis
Experts blame the lack of dentistry places at universities
About 20,000 people in a south Devon town are set to benefit from new measures to increase NHS dentists.

The number of NHS dentists is 4.2 per 10,000 people in Teignbridge, among the worst rates in Europe and waiting times are rising.

Three overseas dentists have been appointed and there are also plans for another six early next year.

The move is the result of collaboration between Teignbridge District Council and Teignbridge Primary Care Trust.

Recruitment pledge

It follows a survey of local people which revealed that 42% of Teignbridge people received NHS dentistry compared with 49% across England.

The council has offered premises for the new recruits at its environmental health offices which will be vacated in January.

Council chief executive Howard Davis said: "The council is delighted to be working so successfully with the local Primary Care Trust to ensure local people have greater access to NHS dentists.

"The initial increase in capacity will be used to reduce waiting times for emergency dental treatment across south Devon."

"The six recruits being taken on next spring will be able to treat a further 14,000 people wanting NHS dentistry in the area."

Last month, the government pledged to recruit an extra 1,000 dentists by October 2005, and to increase training places by 25%.

The British Dental Association blames the crisis on a lack of places at university dental schools.

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