Father unable to find NHS dentist in Chichester ends up registered 35 miles away in Handcross

A Chichester father has been left frustrated after finding that his nearest available NHS dentist was located 35 miles away in Handcross.

Monday, 23rd November 2020, 11:10 am

John Marchant-Brodie said he contacted every dentist in the area when he and his family moved to Chichester from Dorking in December 2018.

He said: “We tried literally every single dentist in the area.

“Literally every single one told us they are not accepting NHS patients, they are oversubscribed.”

Stock image: Shutterstock

However he was told they could sign up as private patients, or join a £15 a month scheme.

Even practices which advertised that they were taking NHS patients on their websites turned out not to be accepting when he called up.

None even had waiting lists they could add his name to.

Dentistry in Decay: An investigation by JPIMedia

John eventually managed to get himself and his family registered to a practice in Handcross – 35 miles away from their home and an hour’s drive away – from January 2021.

“What angered me is that every single dentist said yes, we can see you as a private patient,” he said.

“There’s space to see people, there’s appointments out there.”

He said he was worried about plans for 13,000 homes in Tangmere and other new housing in Oving and Fishbourne will add additional pressure.

“All these houses are being built and not one dentist is being built,” he said.

His wife, who gave birth to their first child earlier this year, was entitled to free dentistry on the NHS during her pregnancy.

But because they were unable to find an NHS dentist, she was not able to see one.

“My wife has missed out,” he said. “It’s terrible.”

He said: “We pay taxes to see an NHS dentist. If you can’t see one, something needs to be done about it.

“I’m a 40-year-old man who drives, who predominantly works from home.

“Going to Handcross is not too much of a problem.

“What if I was a 70-year-old woman who lives alone, who had to get the bus? What if I was a single mum?

“It’s an economic bias. If you have the money, you can see a dentist. If you haven’t, you’re not going to be able to.

“I think that’s actually discriminatory against lower income workers in this area.”

The pandemic has made it even more difficult to find an NHS dentist in West Sussex – read more from our #dentistryindecay investigation here.