Smiles all round as NHS dentist re­turns to vil­lage

Hare­field has been with­out ser­vice since 2011

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - by Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

MANY Hare­field res­i­dents will be de­lighted at the open­ing of an NHS dentist in the vil­lage af­ter five years with only pri­vate den­tal care.

The Vil­lage Den­tal Prac­tice in Hare­field High Street was of­fi­cially opened as an NHS dentist on Friday, Oc­to­ber 14.

An NHS-run dentist ser­vice for the vil­lage closed its doors for good in 2011, leav­ing pa­tients the choice of two pri­vate surg­eries in Hare­field or hav­ing to travel fur­ther afield.

Bev­er­ley Meier, who lives in Hare­field, regis­tered at the dentist on Friday to re­place her usual surgery in East­cote.

She said: “It’s nice to have some­thing lo­cal. I’m a firm be­liever in us­ing lo­cal ser­vices.

“There’s not been an NHS dentist in Hare­field for as long as I’ve lived here. It’s re­ally good to see some­thing on the High Street.”

The Vil­lage Den­tal Prac­tice has been open for around two weeks but held its grand open­ing on Friday, at­tended by den­tists, man­agers, NHS bosses and the Mayor of Hilling­don.

Dentist at the prac­tice, Dr If­fah Za­man, said: “I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant be­cause the res­i­dents that live here travel quite far to see an NHS dentist.

“It’s been re­ally busy so far.

“There are a lot of older peo­ple here and it may be harder for them to travel.”

Mayor of Hilling­don, Coun­cil­lor John Hens­ley, said: “We des­per­ately do need a dentist to meet the needs of our com­mu­nity.

“This prac­tice goes to­ward meet­ing the short­age of den­tists we have in the area.”

In march this year hundreds of Hare­field res­i­dents signed a pe­ti­tion to get an NHS dentist in their vil­lage. NHS Eng­land had car­ried out a needs assess­ment where they found that the den­tal de­cay rates in Hilling­don are amongst the worst in Lon­don.

An ap­pli­ca­tion for ‘change of use’ from res­i­den­tial to den­tal clinic on 12A North­wood Road was sub­mit­ted to Hilling­don Coun­cil in Septem­ber 2015, but a de­ci­sion was de­layed when nearby res­i­dents raised con­cerns.

A to­tal of 40 res­i­dents signed a pe­ti­tion against the NHS den­tal clinic, stat­ing the change of use was ‘inappropriate’ and raised con­cerns about noise and car dis­tur­bance with in­suf­fi­cient car park­ing for staff.

A counter pe­ti­tion was then started col­lect­ing sig­na­tures to show how many peo­ple nearby wanted the ser­vice.

Pe­ti­tion­ers left com­ments to ex­plain their sup­port.

One wrote: “We do need an NHS dentist in Hare­field – I am a mum of three and my­self and chil­dren need an NHS dentist lo­cal as the pri­vate ones are too ex­pen­sive.”

The prac­tice is still ac­cept­ing reg­is­tra­tions and you can find out more by vis­it­ing www. vil­lage­den­tal ha re field.

GRAND OPEN­ING: The rib­bon is of­fi­cially cut at the new prac­tice on Hare­field High Street

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