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Delays to care after oral surgery clinic shut down at West Suffolk Hospital

PUBLISHED: 14:09 19 June 2017

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SIMON PARKER

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SIMON PARKER

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Hundreds of patients have been left without the oral surgery clinic at West Suffolk Hospital, after the service was shut down.

The NHS have admitted some patients will face delays while they make arrangements to find care elsewhere.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust confirmed the clinic closed down on June 2, with the hospital lacking the capacity and facilities to meet the demand.

The clinic was open two days a week and provided under the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery department at the Bury St Edmunds hospital.

Simon Taylor, general manager for surgery and anaesthetics, said: “We understand the concerns raised regarding our two day a week orthodontics and oral surgery service.

“Any patients needing orthodontic appointments will be referred to an appropriate provider in due course. NHS England, which is commissioning the new service, is working with us and making arrangements for patients’ on-going care while longer-term plans are put in place.

“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly. As we are not a specialist centre for oral services, we didn’t have the capacity and facilities to meet the demand on the service while maintaining...quality.”

He said there were 235 patients receiving treatment from the clinic, adding that surgery has been undertaken for all but 10 patients.

Mr Taylor said: “Going forward, we hope patients...will be able to receive care from a dedicated service. Those patients needing follow-up appointments for oral surgery have been asked to contact their general dental practitioner or general practitioner, who will be able to make arrangements for any on-going care that they may require.”

The new oral surgery service will be commissioned by NHS England. David Barter, interim head of commissioning for NHS England Midlands and East, said: “NHS England is working with [the trust] to put a plan in place to ensure orthodontic patients can receive the care they need. Unfortunately, treatment for a small number of patients may be delayed.

“NHS England is committed to the safety of these patients and is making arrangements for patients’ on-going care whilst longer-term plans for the service are put in place.”

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