People wishing to see a dentist in Dudley are having to travel to other parts of the Black Country, such as Birmingham and Solihull, to find a surgery that will take on new patients. Only one consultant in the area was found to be providing services out of Russells Hall Hospital, so more and more people are travelling further afield to access NHS dental care, particularly those that are hoping to start orthodontic treatment.
Dudley Local Dental Committee chairperson Sue Stevens said that this constituted a ‘major problem’ with the dental services available. Sue said that children with the most severe orthodontic conditions were unable to find treatment and were left on a waiting list for many months before speaking to a consultant – if an appointment was made at all. She added ‘The commissioners at NHS England in Birmingham seem to be content to forget about provision of services in Dudley.’
Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Paula Clark said that orthodontic services in the area were currently closed to new referrals as attempts to recruit a new consultant proved fruitless. She added that this was ‘in line with a national shortage of orthodontists.’ The post is currently being advertised again in order to replace the previous consultant who retired recently.