Devon

Plymouth man's anger over wait for NHS dentist

A 75-year-old man is angry he was "forced" to borrow money to pay for private dental treatment.

Malcolm Hipwell from Plymouth was told he would have to wait 12 months for an NHS dentist.

He needed to have four teeth removed, so used his bank's overdraft facility to pay £520 for private treatment.

NHS Plymouth said it was trying to shorten the waiting list, but treatment was available for emergencies.

Its Dental Access Centre staff will normally see emergency patients within 48 hours.

'Absolutely disgusting'

But Mr Hipwell said the access centre was not suitable because, although he could have had his bad teeth removed, the clinic would not have provided dentures.

"I started work at 14, I did two years' national service and I was in the Post Office for 38 years," he told BBC News.

"All that time I paid, I paid and I paid and its absolutely disgusting there's no facility now at my time of life to get this put right."

There are currently 29 dental services in the city which offer NHS treatment.

The Peninsula Dental School also offers free treatment by students, under supervision, at its training clinic in Devonport, with a second base at Derriford Hospital expected to open next September.

NHS Plymouth said about 55% of the city's population are registered with an NHS dentist and it is working hard to shorten the waiting list.

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