Hundreds have been queuing around the block this morning in an attempt to sign up for a new NHS dentist in a major UK city.
The new practice in Bristol’s St Paul’s area has seen long lines trailing down Ashley Court, where it has opened, with those hoping to become patients queuing up as early as 8.30am.
One woman named Maria, aged 80, who was queuing outside St Paul’s Dental Practice, said she had been unable to see another dentist since the practice closed under its previous owners in June.
Maria has been queuing for more than two hours and said she had a disabled friend currently undergoing cancer treatment who was further back in the queue.
She told Bristol Live: “All of the appointments were fully booked and the waiting lists were too long.”
The queue is reportedly still growing, after the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (ICB), which is the body responsible for the provision of dental care, announced last year that SGA Services Ltd would take over the practice after it was vacated by Bupa.
Police are now on the scene to control crowds.
Labour Bristol city councillor for Ashley Ward, Amirah Cole, said it was “exciting” to see the dental practice reopen.
She said: “The dentist has finally opened, Bupa densit which closed over nine months ago is now opening back in the area.”
“The queue is very long,” Cllr Cole added, saying it was “exciting for all of us to see the practice open once again.”
During last year folk living in the city were allegedly pulling their own teeth out after Bristol saw 1,350 dental A&E admissions last year.
Between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, North Bristol NHS Trust saw 235 patients enter their emergency department with dental abscesses and 55 as a result of tooth decay.