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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 18:12 GMT
Social dentist cure for shortage
Dentist examining a woman's teeth
Any profit made by the practice is given to community groups
A new type of "social" dentist has opened in Derbyshire that organisers claim could solve the shortage of NHS dentists across the UK.

The Derbyshire practice provides NHS-type care, but it is a not-for-profit organisation and any proceeds go to community projects.

Organisers said the structure could provide an alternative format for dentistry, solving the NHS shortage.

Genesis Dental Care plans to open two more surgeries in Lincolnshire.

The first practice in Birchwood Lane, South Normanton, Derbyshire opened on Thursday.

Two more have been agreed by health authorities in Grantham and Lincoln.

Community need

Under the structure patients pay for treatment but any profit made by the surgery is either ploughed back into the practice or distributed to community organisations.

"This practice has been set up to meet a desperate need in this community to provide NHS facilities," said manager John Skelton.

"A lot of patients can't afford to go private and they have been unable to find an NHS dentist. Well they can now."

The three practices are set to initially take patient referrals from local NHS waiting lists and plan to treat 15,000 patients in their first year.

Organisers said the structure had only been possible with the introduction of the new dentists' contract in April and would have been previously prohibited by legislation.

"This is dentistry at its best with excellent equipment, we've got a highly trained group of dentists and nurses who accept our vision to work as a non-for-profit organisation," said Mr Skelton.

"We are doing it for the benefit of the community, we're a social organisation.

"Any money we do make is put back in to the practice to improve patient care or it's given to local community initiatives for the benefit of the good people or South Normanton," he said.

The organisation plans to open a further 50 practices across the UK.

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31 Mar 06 |  Health
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28 Mar 06 |  Health

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