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Valley NHS dentist open for business.

Byline: ERYL CRUMP

A NEW dental practice accepting NHS patients is to open in North Wales -and there are still places left.

Dentist Tom Beggs has been given a grant by the Conwy Local Health Board and the Welsh Assembly to open a surgery in Llanrwst.

Dozens of people have already contacted the authorities to register themselves with the new dentist, which will be open by the end of the month.

The move has been welcomed by patients and health watchdogs.

Pensioner Ron a Williams of Betws y Coed said: ``This is really good news for the whole valley because it will be so much more convenient than travelling to Colwyn Bay for private treatment.''

Mrs Williams said that when the practice in Llanrwst shut down, many people were affected and had problems finding alternative cover.

She added: ``I hope the practice will stay in the NHS and not eventually switch to private care.''

Wyn Thomas,chief executive of Conwy LHB, welcomed the new development.

He said: ``The Local Health Board is very concerned about access to NHS dentistry in Conwy and has been working with the Assembly to secure incentive grants so that we can actively attract NHS dentists into the area.

``I am very pleased that Dr Beggs has decided to come to practice in the Conwy Valley and I am sure he will make a positive impact on oral health in the area.''

Last week the British Dental Association (BDA) warned the dental service in Wales is near crisis point, and more help must be given to dentists to encourage them to open new practices.

The extent of the shortage of dentists in some parts of rural Wales became clear in July when 600 people queued to take up the NHS places on offer at a new practice in Carmarthen. Hundreds more had to be turned away.

A BDA survey revealed that young dentists were opting for better-paid private work, rather than NHS jobs in clinics,in a bid to make money quickly to pay off their debts.

Patients wishing to register at the new Llanrwst surgery should contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or the Conwy Local Health Board on 01492 536586.

Rural dentists are to brush up their training on traumatic injuries in Mid Wales on Wednesday next week.

The conference is part of a series of meetings organised by the Welsh Rural Postgraduate Unit, a partnership between the Institute of Rural Health and the University of Wales College of Medicine.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 8, 2003
Words:416
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