Suffolk dental charity forced to turn patients away after reaching capacity

Dentaid mobile clinic with doors open

Dentaid clinics were open in Leiston and Bury St Edmunds over two days - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A mobile dental clinic on a visit to Bury St Edmunds was forced to turn away 25 people after reaching maximum capacity.

The Dentaid charity clinic, organised by Toothless in Suffolk campaigners, was open for six hours on May 19, with volunteers providing emergency care for a total of 35 patients.

Prior to the visit, the clinic was open 10am to 4pm on May 18 in Leiston, where a total of 33 patients were treated.

The town has been without an NHS dentist after closure in 2021.

The news comes as the latest piece of damning evidence that Suffolk is in the midst of a dentistry crisis. 

Data published in January revealed at least a 27% decrease in NHS dentists across Suffolk since 2020, with the Department of Health ranking the West Suffolk Commissioning Group (CCG) as the joint third-worst affected in England.

Mark Jones, co-founder of the Toothless in Suffolk campaign, said: "The levels of need here in Suffolk have overwhelmed the charity. We have witnessed 14 years of hand-wringing by successive governments.

"This has resulted in the shockingly high levels of health inequality seen throughout the length and breadth of the country.

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"We deserve better in the 21st century."