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Worried dental patients meet officials

PUBLISHED: 10:49 09 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 July 2010

PATIENTS of a Lowestoft dental surgery threatened with closure have this week met with health officials to discuss their concerns.

More than 3,000 patients of the High Street Dental Surgery have signed a petition in support of Dr David Johnson.

PATIENTS of a Lowestoft dental surgery threatened with closure have this week met with health officials to discuss their concerns.

More than 3,000 patients of the High Street Dental Surgery have signed a petition in support of Dr David Johnson.

Dr Johnson is currently in dispute with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust and the contract is to be put out for tender.

A group of patients from the surgery met with James Elliott, director of commissioning at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney on Tuesday.

“I met with a group of patients of Dr Johnson who are concerned by the current retendering for the contract of this dental practice,” said Mr Elliott.

“Whilst we are restricted in what we can say about this issue because of an ongoing legal case, I felt it was really important to meet this group of patient representatives and to hear their views in person.

“We always strive to work with patient groups to hear their issues and we understand people's fears. However, no dental provision will be lost in Lowestoft and we continue to invest money in dental services across the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area to ensure everyone has access to an NHS dentist if they wish,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lowestoft businessman Noel Salmon tried to raise the issue at the annual meeting of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney last week.

Mr Salmon said the current situation is allegedly about Dr Johnson being told that his retirement at the age of 70 was mandatory but the PCT deny this.

“Who can we believe? Dr Johnson, a caring professional who has been running his practice for more than 30 years and loyal to the local community or the PCT?” said Mr Salmon.

“What is the real motivation of the PCT and why, contrary to the Government policy of encouraging people to work as long as they can, are they effectively trying to force Dr Johnson to retire and his colleagues to become unemployed?” he said.

Health officials were unable to answer Mr Salmon's questions or give any further details about the situation because of the legal process.

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