No dental practices in Reading are taking new patients, according to a health watchdog.

Only one is providing one-off emergency appointments, research Healthwatch Reading shows.

Of the 14 practices in the town, 13 were still seeing private patients and 12 did not know when they would begin seeing NHS patients.

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“Every day we are contacted by Reading people frustrated about not being able to see an NHS Dentist,” said Healthwatch Reading chief executive Mandeep Kaur Bains.

“Many local people are struggling with the high costs of living and tell us they can’t afford to go private. “ “While we understand that the Covid pandemic has hit dentistry hard, we’re concerned that people with the most urgent and painful problems, are struggling to get timely help.”

Healthwatch Reading phoned 14 local dental surgeries on 13 January 2022.

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Only Friar Street Dental Practice in the town centre said it would see a person with an emergency dental problem as a one-off.

Healthwatch England, the national body, said in December 2021 that four out of five people were struggling to access NHS dental care.

NHS England announced yesterday (January 25) £50m to provide up to 350,000 extra dental appointments across England.

Of this funding, the South East will get £6,887,000.

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