Mother angry at dentist shortage

A MOTHER has hit out after being told she will have to travel 15 miles or go private for her young son to see a dentist.Debbie Pegrammoved to Harwich from Manchester six months ago with her husband Kevin and their son, Tony, four.

A MOTHER has hit out after being told she will have to travel 15 miles or go private for her young son to see a dentist.

Debbie Pegrammoved to Harwich from Manchester six months ago with her husband Kevin and their son, Tony, four.

Recently, Tony has been waking in the night complaining of pain in his teeth so his mother tried to register him with an NHS dentist.

But she was "disgusted" to discover that no dentist in the area was taking on NHS patients.

Mrs Pegram, who owns the Mariner's pub and bed and breakfast in West Street, Harwich, said: "I have been told by the primary care trust that I will have to try and find one in Clacton or Colchester or go private.

"I think it is disgusting, we pay so much VAT, national insurance and every other tax you can think of yet my four-year-old cannot see a dentist.

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"You have got to look after children. Of course my husband and I need somewhere to register as well."

Mrs Pegram said she "had no choice" but to telephone dentists across Tendring to try and find one with an open list.

She added: "I have been told they are putting a dentist unit in at the new hospital but that is a long way off.

"A lot of kids live around here and there are a lot of people in the same situation who can't get there children registered and some haven't got the transport or the funds to be running about."

Paul Unsworth, chief executive of Tendring Primary Care Trust (PCT) said: "The situation is that a local dentist is still trying to recruit. If they can recruit a dentist they will open their list again to NHS patients.

"The PCT became responsible for dentists last year and what we have already done is get a dental development group together which has a local dentist on it and people from the PCT to improve access to dentists.

"Clearly that cannot be achieved overnight but we are helping them to advertise in a more attractive way, such as putting out a group advert.

"We are going to build dental facilities into the new community hospital with the PCT employing a salaried dentist but that doesn't happen until the end of 2005.

"We are looking to resolve the situation but it is not something which can be done overnight."

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