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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 09:17 GMT
'We have to turn away patients'
NHS bosses are running out of money to pay for dental services, it is being claimed.

A Norfolk dentist explains how he is struggling - despite a new contract designed to expand care only just being introduced.

Nick Stolls
Mr Stolls said he has appealed for more money to treat patients

Harleston's dental practice is everything a modern surgery should be.

With five dentists working from the premises in the southern Norfolk town, it should offer local residents a comprehensive NHS service.

But the practice has had to start to turn away patients as they have been forced to make two of the dentists part-time.

Lead dentist Nick Stolls said Norfolk Primary Care Trust is not getting as much money in patients charges as expected and has reacted by cutting dentistry funds.

"These are dentists who want to work full-time and it seems crazy they cannot. At the start of the year they were doing a full week, but the PCT will not give us the money to keep them working full-time even though there is the demand for it.

"We have had to start saying to some patients that they will have to come back in a few months because we know we can't afford to see everyone.

The new contract was meant to resolve these issues, but the problem is the government did not pilot it properly and trusts are not making as much as they thought in patient charges
Nick Stolls, dentist

"We are continuing to treat those who have started a course of treatment, but have told other people wanting treatment to go elsewhere or come back in April.

"The new contract was meant to resolve these issues, but the problem is the government did not pilot it properly and trusts are not making as much as they thought in patient charges."

He said they have reacted by cutting the dentist budgets, leaving his practice short.

Norfolk PCT refused to comment on this particular case. Officials said the trust was planning to cut its budget by 2.9m to cover the expected shortfall in patient fees.




SEE ALSO
Thousands of dentists ditch NHS
07 Apr 06 |  Health

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