Patients Queue for New NHS Dentists

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Byline: By TOMOS LIVINGSTONE Western Mail

Dozens of patients queued round the block yesterday to register with an NHS dentist, prompting the local MP to compare the scenes to the Soviet Union. The Denticare firm is offering 3,000 NHS places in Port Talbot and 6,600 in Newtown as the Assembly Government attempts to address the growing problem of access to dental services.

More places are planned in Brecon, Swansea and Lampeter. As the Newtown practice opened its doors yesterday there were already queues of more than 100 people. The Assembly Government insisted its approach to the problem was a 'success story'.

The sight of patients queuing to register with a dentist has become a common sight as many leave the NHS. In October more than 300 patients lined up for more than three hours outside the Woodlands Dental Practice in Neath.

But Health Minister Brian Gibbons said last night the service had 'turned the corner' after a multi-million- pound investment to fund more NHS places.

Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik said last night, 'I'm glad this new dental surgery is opening in Newtown, but the queues we've seen today show the scale of the problem we're facing in Montgomeryshire.

'There is a massive backlog in the area because of the appalling lack of service people have had to put up with. …