Yarn bomber's protest over town being left without an NHS dentist
- Credit: Rev Richard Ellis
A former dental nurse is protesting over the lack of NHS dentists in her area - via a yarn-bombing design.
Sandra Ellis, of Leiston, created a giant mouth with the message "We need a dentist," and put it outside the former dental surgery which closed recently.
Around 400 people in Leiston have been taking part in the town's yarn-bombing project, which has seen knitted characters and toppers appear in shops, gardens and on top of post boxes.
Mrs Ellis decided to use yarn bombing to make a serious point, after the town lost both of its dentists within 18 months.
"Along with many other people in the town, we are trying to make the town more cheerful after a long lockdown and to celebrate Suffolk Day," she said.
"The loss of any sort of dentist, NHS or otherwise, is a huge blow to a town of this size.
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"With continual building and an increasing population, it is unthinkable that we don't have a dental surgery here. That in mind, I decided to use the yarn bombing to also make this point."
She included some black teeth and swollen gums in her design, to show how badly a dentist is needed.
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Mrs Ellis, who now runs her own housekeeping business, said she worked as a dental nurse many years ago and is very concerned about the lack of NHS dentists in the town and local area.
"I think it's terrible. I have got grandchildren and they need a dentist they can go to. We all do.
"Some people are having to go to Colchester. There are so many people looking for a dentist and they can't find anywhere to register."
Meanwhile, hundreds of people have staged a protest and signed a petition to bring NHS dental services back to Leiston.
Petition organiser Steve Marsling had a street stall in the town centre this morning to collect more signatures.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said previously: “We are committed to supporting the dental sector throughout this unprecedented pandemic so everyone across the country can access affordable, high-quality dental care.
“We continue to support the most vulnerable by providing exemptions from dental charges for certain groups."