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Last Updated: Monday, 16 February, 2004, 21:40 GMT
Hundreds queue for NHS dentists
People queuing to register for NHS treatment
The lack of dentists in the area has reached crisis point
Hundreds of people spent the morning queuing in the street in Scarborough to register for NHS dental treatment.

More than 3,000 people have applied to join the scheme and more than 300 spent hours queuing to register in person.

Scarborough's shortage of NHS dentists means some people are having to travel to Leeds or Middlesbrough for a simple check-up or filling.

But the Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Primary Care Trust hopes the service will help solve the problem.

The lack of dentists in the area has reached crisis point with staff being recruited from overseas to overcome the shortage.

Low-cost treatment

According to those queuing, it was a desperate scene that symbolised the state of Britain's health service.

Those first to register had queued for three hours. Unable to afford private treatment, some had toothache and had not seen a dentist in years.

To provide a basic service, health officials looked overseas and, as a result, on Tuesday one dentist will be arriving in Scarborough from Holland.

But although she will be welcomed by fellow dentists, many say the appointment will not tackle the long-term problems.

Foreign graduates

Dr John Renshaw, of the British Dental Association, said it was not a matter of looking down their noses at foreign graduates.

"The real issue is should we be looking for foreign graduates or should we be growing our own graduates to deal with our own problems?

"My view is we should not be looking abroad, we should not have to look abroad."

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