Manchester mother faces 40-mile roundtrip for dentist check-up with baby

  • Report by Ann O'Connor.

A mother in Manchester says she faces taking her baby on a a 40-mile roundtrip to another county for an NHS dentist check up.

Ophelie Loric, who lives in Levenshulme, says she has tried to book an appointment with fifteen NHS surgeries.

Her son Nolan is now six months old and close to teething - and neither have a dentist. She could sign up as a private patient, but the fees are steep.

She said: "Every dental surgery I contacted I was told they were not taking on NHS patients. The closest one was more than 20 miles away in Cheshire and it's too far to travel just for a dentist appointment.

"I could go private but I don't see why I should have to. I think of the people who cannot afford to go private or cannot afford to drive 20 miles. I'm dumbfounded."

It comes after figures show some parts of the North West have lost up to a quarter of dentists offering NHS treatments.

Bolton has seen a 25% drop, with Oldham losing almost a fifth and in St Helens the number of dentists giving NHS treatment has fallen 17%.

The British dental association says 2,500 dentists have withdrawn NHS treatment and the service is "hanging by a thread."

Mohsan Ahmad, who practices in Oldham, says NHS work does not pay because he gets a flat fee for each course of treatment whether that involves one filling or five.

He said: "we have to get a system that works equally for everyone. That's essential for the profession and the general public too."

NHS England says it's set up 600 urgent dental centres and taken "unprecedented action" to provide additional funding for practices that can't deliver their usual levels of treatment.

It says it's set a safe target for surgeries to return to providing NHS care.