Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Gap in NHS Care

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Gap in NHS Care

Article excerpt

Patients seeking NHS dental treatment in England face a postcode lottery, consumer organisation Which? said today.

Its "secret shopper" survey found more than half of surgeries are not taking on new NHS patients, with only 36% taking on all those seeking NHS treatment.

While this is an improvement on 2005, when 31% were taking on all NHS patients, in some areas the figure is much lower.

In the North-west, only 13% of surgeries contacted by callers posing as potential patients moving to the area said they were accepting all new NHS patients.

In Yorkshire and Humberside and the South Central region, the figures were almost as low - 15% and 16% respectively.

In some areas, much higher percentages of NHS patients are being accepted - with 63% of surgeries in the West Midlands accepting all patients and 59% in London.

Overall, 11% of dental practices would take on certain patients, usually children and those on benefits or exempt from charges. …

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