Will Harrogate's new NHS dental practice serve demand?

Will six new NHS dentists in Harrogate be enough to serve demand?
Will six new NHS dentists in Harrogate be enough to serve demand?
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NHS dental provision in the Harrogate District has been given a ‘mammoth’ boost after the launch of a rebranded practice with six dentists.

Taking over the premises of ‘MyDentist’ at Hookstone Park, Harrogate Dental Care started serving patients on June 1.

At a meeting of the County Council’s Scrutiny of Health Committee, NHS Dental leaders explained why there had been problems with provision in the district.

Commissioning Lead for NHS dental services in the north, Constance Pillar, said: “The issue for us is around contracts being given back to NHS England, what that means is the dental practice who owns that contract have decided not to provide services any longer, give us notice and then hand that contract back to us.”

After years of ‘battling’ for better provision, Harrogate councillor, Geoff Webber, welcomed the news, but warned there could still be problems in the future.

He said: “I can only welcome the fact that we now have some provision in the Harrogate District for NHS patients.

“It’s long overdue. There has been a problem and there may well be a problem in future around access to NHS dentists here. I’m delighted there’s some provision being made at the moment, but we just need to wait and see how long it’s provided for in the light of other dentists handing back their contracts. I have been battling it for nearly two years.”

Dr Muhammad Farooq is one of the dentists who has taken over the NHS contract and praised NHS England for responding to the pressure.

Describing the scale of the service as ‘mammoth’ Dr Farooq said the practice currently has four working dentists but that another two are set to join in July.

He said: “It is a clinician based practice and we are going to be delivering a service with a focus on patient care.”