Spalding '8 to 8' dental practice plans are 'good news', says Healthwatch Lincolnshire
Plans for a new dental surgery with extended hours in Spalding have been welcomed by a patients' rights group.
Healthwatch Lincolnshire called the proposed 365- day, "8 to 8" practice, likely to be based in Winsover Road, "really good news".
Patients not registered with a dental practice will be offered routine and urgent appointments at the surgery which is due to open in March 2020.
But hopes of another "extended access" service in Spalding, available between 9am and 5pm, Mondays to Fridays, are on hold after NHS England failed to find a preferred bidder for the contract.
A Healthwatch Lincolnshire spokesman said: "The recent announcement of a new 8 to 8 dental service in Spalding is really good news for the hundreds of people currently needing NHS dental treatment in the area.
"However, we are still concerned that the NHS was unable to secure a contract for an additional service in Spalding.
"But having recently met with the team responsible for NHS dental services in the county, we know they are working hard to find a company prepared to take on this new service."
"Unfortunately, a severe shortage of dentists is one of the major factors why the NHS is having difficulty in awarding the contract.
"Therefore, as a way of starting to address the problem, we were really pleased to hear of an initiative to encourage more young people to consider a career in dentistry, with one recruitment drive already happening this month."
The spokesman also confirmed plans by NHS England to make orthodontic (teeth straightening) services more accessible for young people across Lincolnshire.
"Currently, the service is concentrated in Lincoln which means that all patients and their families have to travel significant distances for their orthodontic treatment," the spokesman said.
"Under the new plans, orthodontic services will now be available in areas such as Boston, Spalding, Grantham and Sleaford.
"This change means there could well be less disruption for children and their families needing orthodontic treatment, as well as offering a more equally accessible service for younger residents."