Two NHS dentists on the way to Spalding
NHS England is paving the way for a January relaunch of full NHS dental services at Spalding’s Johnson Community Hospital together with an independent NHS practice opening 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Di Pegg, head of primary care for NHS England in Lincolnshire, said: “Earlier this year we started the process of commissioning contracts for seven new dental services across Lincolnshire to ensure more people can access NHS dental treatment closer to where they live. The procurement process remains on course to conclude in the summer and the new services are expected to start in January 2019.”
These services have been promised before but came to nothing.
NHS England failed to deliver a caretaker service on September 1 last year, the day after 1A Dental closed its practice there – although an urgent care centre was opened a few days later.
A new dental surgery, run by Rodericks, was due to open in December but in October that was called off.
Readers of this newspaper responded to a plea by Healthwatch Lincolnshire to complain about the lack of NHS dental services in the town.
Now the health watchdog is welcoming news that NHS England is trying again.
Healthwatch chief executive Sarah Fletcher said: “On behalf of local people, Healthwatch Lincolnshire has continued to put pressure on the NHS to ensure these new services are provided as soon as possible.
“We are sure that patients feel they have been waiting far too long for new NHS Dentist service in Spalding. By the time the new services are fully up and running it could well be January 2019 before any patients are treated. Whilst this isn’t acceptable for everyone it is great news that Spalding within the next few months will be benefiting from additional dentists”.
• The NHS England contract procurement includes three NHS dental practices providing routine and urgent care from 8am to 8pm, 365 days a year, and services will be located in Lincoln and Sleaford as well as Spalding.
NHS England says the extended hours service previously provided at Johnson Community Hospital is also being recommissioned, which means it will open 8am-8pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 8am-6.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 8.30am-1pm Saturdays, 9am-12.30pm alternate Sundays; and some Bank Holidays.
Interim cover for the urgent care element of this service is already being provided by other dental practices in the local area, and will remain in place until the new contracts start.