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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 08:40 GMT
Dentist wait list drops to 11,000
Dental patient
New dental practices have opened and services expanded
The number of people in Devon waiting to find an NHS dentist has dropped from 48,000 to 11,000 in 18 months, health bosses say.

The Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT) said new contracts had enabled health trusts to work with dentists to increase the amount of NHS dentistry available.

It added that opening new practices and expanding NHS services had also helped.

The PCT said it recognised there were patients still waiting, but agreements were in place to expand services again.

'Difficult access'

New practices have been opened in Exeter, Newton Abbott, Kingsbridge and West Hill in the last 18 months.

Services have also been expanded in Teignmouth, Torrington, Barnstaple and Chulmleigh, said Andrew Harris, the dental lead at the Devon PCT.

He said: "It is recognised there are still many patients still waiting for a dentist and some areas where access remains difficult.

"There are agreements in place to expand services in Exeter, Exmouth and Tavistock which will enable the majority of those still waiting to be able to access NHS dentistry."

He added the PCT had also made provision for access to emergency dental care both during and outside of normal hours through a combination of dental access centres, through dental practices and an out-of-hours dental service.

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