DENTAL patients have come forward to tell The Argus of their struggle to get an appointment after practices reached their NHS quota.

It comes after we reported that people in need of urgent dental care have been unable to obtain NHS treatment due to a lack of space for new patients.

We have heard from a number of Mid Sussex residents who have been forced to go without treatment because they are unable to afford private costs of care.

One 35-year-old woman, identified only as Detti, got in touch to raise her concerns that many families and children are not receiving support they need.

Detti, a family support worker, said: "It means that the most vulnerable families and individuals will not be able to get the appropriate and essential support they need regarding dental hygiene."

Her own dentist contacted her at the end of June stating that in order to provide the best quality of care it will be no longer be offering NHS services from July.

Due to working full time as a support worker, Detti is also unable to finance paying privately for dental procedures.

She said: "It impacts on my children as they cannot be registered if I am not according to current policies in practices.

"It shouldn't be a privilege to get a dental appointment.

"It is the sheer lack of care and understanding of people's basic needs. It has nothing to do with raising standards and everything to do with making money.

"It is only possible as there seems to regulation by government that would protect people's basic rights to health care."

While Hannah Keeling, of Haywards Heath, has not been able to see a dentist for over three years due to being unable to afford the private rates.

She was left to suffer as her wisdom teeth came through.

She said: "I couldn't get a private appointment when I worked full time, let alone an NHS one, before the pandemic.

"Now post pandemic I work as a carer supported by Universal Credit and I still can't get an appointment because I can't afford private costs.

"The lack of NHS dentists is a disgrace, those on low income and those with children are going to end up costing the NHS more in the future for issues that could be avoided if they had access to proper, affordable care."

Elena Trabucchi, 31, moved to Haywards Heath to settle and start a family but was shocked that the public services were lacking.

She thinks that Clair Hall should become a dental practice and that this would help with the issue.

"After three years of living here I still don't have an NHS dentist and the private costs are at least double that of the NHS price list," she said.

"A £60 NHS hygienist appointment is £120 at a private clinic."

The Argus:

The NHS approves dentist allocation across England and has said there had been no reduction in funding for NHS dental services in West Sussex.

However, since 2020 some dentists in West Sussex had chosen to end their contracts and new temporary ones have been offered to existing practices to provide additional treatment.

Earlier this week, Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies said: "I am aware that there are strong capacity constraints for NHS dental services in the Mid Sussex area, which has been raised with me by concerned constituents and exacerbated by the pandemic impact.

"I am keen to highlight this shortfall and I have made numerous approaches to NHS England, who contract dental services.

"They have assured me they are working on a plan to improve local availability and I will be keeping the pressure on demanding outcomes for Mid Sussex residents."

An NHS spokeswoman said: “Dentists have continued treating people who require urgent treatment throughout the pandemic and if someone is in need of urgent dental treatment they can call any dental practice to access this.

"Dentists continue to follow strict infection control guidance enabling patients to be seen in a Covid-secure way and this means they are able to treat fewer people than usual."

Have you got a story for us? Email or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.