Town to get new NHS dentist
A DEAL to help bring a new NHS dental surgery to Stowmarket is expected to be completed today - in the wake of a major campaign by residents.Some people in the town have found it impossible to sign on with an NHS dentist and have been travelling to Ipswich or Mildenhall to register with a national health practice.
By John Howard
A DEAL to help bring a new NHS dental surgery to Stowmarket is expected to be completed today - in the wake of a major campaign by residents.
Some people in the town have found it impossible to sign on with an NHS dentist and have been travelling to Ipswich or Mildenhall to register with a national health practice.
About 1,200 people in the town and neighbouring villages signed a petition calling for greater provision in the area.
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Paul Marks, a postmaster at neighbouring Great Finborough, was so disillusioned with the NHS and private costs that he flew to Portugal to have his teeth done while on holiday - saving about £400 on private dental costs in Suffolk.
Mid Suffolk District Council has granted planning permission to change the offices at 19 Station Road, Stowmarket, into an NHS dental surgery.
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The council, which owns the property, also agreed to sell the building for less money than it could have made if it had gone to the highest bidder to ensure the town gets the new facility.
A dentist in the Diss area is now hoping to bring the service to the town sometime after the end of February next year.
A spokeswoman for the district council said yesterday: “We are exchanging contracts, the money is coming through, we hope it will all be signed, sealed and delivered by the end of the day.”
Dental tourist Mr Marks said he was pleased at the prospect, adding: “The cost of providing treatment is so expensive privately in this country, and that why I chose to go abroad. I only feel sorry for everyone else who may not be able to get on this new list.”
And campaigner John Matthissen, a Great Finborough parish councillor who launched the petition, said: “I have been terrified this might fall through, we are absolutely delighted that we look to be there now after so many people needs have finally been recognised and the provided for and we are moving forward.
“The best day of all will be when the first person sits in the dentists chair and gets treatment.”
Tim Passmore, leader of the Conservative/Independent run district council, said: “We are delighted to be closing this deal and I am just thrilled that as a council we could help provide a dental service in Stowmarket for the town and surrounding area.
“It is not our role to provide dental care, but we have been able to help people locally. I had heard of some people advised as far as Mildenhall for NHS spaces, which was daft. We all pay for the NHS and it is not unreasonable to expect to be able to get a dentist.”