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News / June 20, 2008

by Guy Hiscott

A survey carried out by the Western Health and Social Services Board over the months of April and May 2008 has shown that over this short period services had deteriorated to the extent that adults, and in some instances children, were unable to register with dentists in the area.

The ‘mystery shopper’ calls covered the areas of Derry, Fermanagh, Limavady, Omagh and Strabane.

In Derry, of the 15 practices called none were able to register adults for NHS treatment, while only one was able to register a child up to the age of 18 and another said they only register children under two. Fermanagh fared no better, with none of the 14 practices called able to register adults. In April one practice could take on children but by the call in May this opportunity was gone.

Of the five Limavady practices contacted, in April two were offering adults registration but none inMay. As for the registration of children, three practices could take on new patients in April, down to just two by May.

With the ‘mystery shopper’ moving on to Omagh, of the nine practices called, none were registering adults and one was registering children in April but this was no longer the case in May.

Finally, in Strabane, seven practices received calls of which none could take on either adults or children in April or May.

Commenting on these woeful findings at a recent meeting, chief officer Maggie Reilly stated that she had received assurances from chief executive Elaine Way that work was underway to improve the current situation.