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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Patients queue for private dentist
Queue for dentist in Abergele
Nick Francis blames underfunding for the long queue at his practice
More than 100 people have queued outside a north Wales dental practice to register as private patients.

People started arriving at the Groes Lwyd practice in Abergele from 0700BST on Monday, they waited for four hours to reach the front of the queue.

Two of the three dentists at the clinic have left and the remaining dentist Nick Francis can only take on 1,500 of the 5,000 clients on his books.

Dr Francis says the situation is a sign of the times and blamed underfunding.

"I have been a dentist in Abergele for 27 years taking over from my father who opened the practice in 1952," he said.

There is a nationwide shortage of dentists and recruitment is very difficult
Dr Nick Francis

"I am proud to have played this part in the community and have always aimed to provide high quality patient care and treatment."

Dr Francis said: "However, under the NHS system this has become increasingly difficult due to underfunding and a chronic shortage of dentists."

Until recently there were four dentists at the practice but by the beginning of August only Dr Francis will remain.

"I will be the only one remaining and it has not been possible to attract replacements," he said.

"There is a nationwide shortage of dentists and recruitment is very difficult particularly for NHS dentistry and it's even harder in more remote or rural areas."

Improve access

Groes Lwyd is one of two dental practices in Abergele, the other is in Chapel Street in the town.

They have a waiting list for private patients until September but say their surgery in Rhyl is accepting NHS patients.

Earlier this month 100 people queued from daybreak to register with a new NHS dentist in Machynlleth.

The Welsh Assembly Government has offered grants to encourage health service dentists to set up or expand in areas where there are shortages.

It also announced 5.3 million over three years earlier this month to improve access to NHS dentists.

Dentists 'stressed to limit'
25 Mar 03  |  Wales
What happened to NHS dentistry?
19 Feb 04  |  Magazine

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