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Hadleigh secures visit from Dentaid charity to help residents affected by ongoing NHS dental crisis

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A dental charity has agreed to help residents who have lost access to care amid the NHS staffing crisis, by visiting a south Suffolk town this autumn.

Patients in Hadleigh have reported struggling to secure routine appointments in recent months, because of recruitment issues affecting the availability of NHS dentists nationwide.

Hadleigh Dental Surgery and Mydentist are among the practices across the region to be affected by the crisis, meaning people have had to either fork out for private services, or go without care entirely.

Dentaid during a visit to Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley
Dentaid during a visit to Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley

To help alleviate the issue, Dentaid, which operates mobile dental clinics around the UK, is set to offer free care in the town on Friday, October 21, on a first-come-first-served basis, at a location to be confirmed.

The visit was secured following requests by Hadleigh town councillor Angela Wiltshire, after she canvassed opinion online and found that the majority of people could not afford private dental care.

She also pointed to stories shared on social media by the Toothless in England campaign, which has been campaigning for improvements to dental provision nationally.

“I put a poll up on Facebook and, overwhelmingly, people said they would prefer an NHS dentist,” Cllr Wiltshire told Suffolk News. “Right now, you can go and pay at either of the dentists in Hadleigh, but not everyone can afford a private dentist.

“If you’re trying to feed your family, keep the lights on and put petrol in your car, you have to make decisions on what to spend your money on, so a lot of people are struggling on with poor teeth and things are getting worse.

“I don’t think people can make those kind of decisions easily, whether to pay to have a tooth out or whether to pay the rent.

“I got in touch with Dentaid and asked if we could have a visit. After a bit of persistence, we were offered a date and, when they have a date, they throw everything at it to try and see as many people as possible.”

Cllr Wiltshire added that she is working to secure funding from the district and county councils, as well as sponsorship from businesses, to cover Dentaid’s £2,000 running costs for the day.

She welcomed anyone who is willing to contribute towards these costs to get in touch.

If you can help, contact her via angela.wiltshire@btinternet.com.