Leiston fails to secure dental deal in latest announcement

EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY DECEMBER 17 File photo dated 19/05/11 of a general view of a dentist at wor

New NHS dental contracts have been awarded in Norfolk and Suffolk, but not in Leiston - Credit: PA

New NHS dental contracts have been awarded across East Anglia, but Leiston's vacancy was not filled meaning the town is approaching a year without a dental surgery.

In April last year, mydentist Leiston closed down due to a lack of dentists.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced deals for practices in Norwich and King's Lynn as well as Lowestoft but Leiston remains unfilled.

Dentaid has come to Leiston to give free dental care to those who have problems with their teeth PI

Dentaid came to Leiston to give free dental care to those who couldn't find a dentist - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

The contract would have expected a service to open in July and run for a period of 4 years and 9 months, while being open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Aldeburgh and Leiston district councillor Russ Rainger has been heavily involved in the topic, even helping organise the Dentaid van that visited the town last week to help people with severe dental pain who couldn't find a dentist.

Russ Rainger, chair of Leiston Community Land Trust. The church garden of Leiston United church is g

Cllr Russ Rainger is optimistic about the future of dental provision in Leiston - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

"It's disappointing that we had to get to that point," said Cllr Rainger. "We know there are plenty of people who need the support, but it's hard to make it enticing.

"It does rely on someone wanting to open a practice. It's down to the individual, if there isn't a dentist who wants to open a shop in the area it's very difficult to make them open a shop.

"There's irons in the fire, I think there's some opportunities. I remain optimistic and I think there's good news coming."

Mark Jones, spokesman for the Toothless in England

Mark Jones, spokesman for the Toothless in England - Credit: Mark Jones

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Mark Jones from campaign group Toothless in England said it was "very disappointing" that Leiston would not be getting a dentist any time soon.

He added: "We are meeting with the head of commissioning David Barter tomorrow morning and will be asking him as to why he's reneged on promises that we were offered, that Leiston won't be getting a dentist after not having one for over a year."

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has been contacted by many constituents about the flooded road

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has contacted local NHS Commissioners urging them to bid for money to help improve dental services in the area - Credit: GREGG BROWN

In a column for East Suffolk Extra, Therese Coffey MP said: "The lack of NHS dental provision has become an increasing issue here in East Suffolk, especially in Leiston with some people telling me they have had to travel as far away as Colchester or Lowestoft to get an appointment.

"I’ve been constantly pressing the case on behalf of patients, lobbying Ministers and NHS bosses. I’m really pleased, therefore, that an additional £50m has now been made available to boost capacity in NHS dentistry."

She added she has already written to local NHS Commissioners encouraging them to make an urgent bid for their share of the money.