Huge queues to sign up for dentist places shock patients as NHS medics blast 'Soviet' style scenes

4 May 2023, 13:23

The queue shocked NHS dentists
The queue shocked NHS dentists. Picture: Twitter/@elliebwick/Alamy

By Will Taylor

Shocking images of hundreds of people queuing to sign up at a dentist's are reminiscent of the "Soviet bloc" and not a 21st century health service, medics have warned.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The huge line formed in King's Lynn, Norfolk, as Smile Dental Care offered 1,000 places to new patients.

But they would only take the first hundred people to sign up each day for 10 days.

People started queuing on the high street from 4am, and it grew to 300 people before the quota for the day was hit. The line reformed on Wednesday.

Norfolk is particularly affected by a shortage of dentists and the British Dental Association (BDA) blasted the scenes as reminiscent of the old Soviet bloc.

King's Lynn resident Ellie posted a photo of a queue and said on Twitter on Tuesday: "Is this a queue for a gig? To meet a celebrity? No.

"It's a queue of people trying to get into the only dentist in Norfolk taking on NHS patients. At least 300 people, some have been queuing since 5am.

Read more: Toddler rushed to hospital 32 times forced to wait over a year for NHS windpipe surgery

"If you wanna know the state of the UK right now, just take a look at this pic.

"For context, the dentist are taking on 100 NHS patients today, I was queuing and had to leave as I need to pick my son up at 10:30 and I know I'm not getting in. Absolutely ridiculous."

Mark Bates, who queued with his partner, told the Eastern Daily Press: "I queued on Tuesday for two and a half hours but they filled up the spaces before we got to the front.

Read more: Nurses threaten more strikes despite NHS staff getting 5 per cent pay rise after health unions back deal

"I came back early today [Tuesday] and queued again and at least I managed to get the forms in."

He added: "This has been the first chance to register anywhere for three years - hence the desperation."

The BDA said: "This is a wealthy 21st century nation. Dentistry is meant to be a core part of our NHS.

"But we're now seeing scenes you'd expect outside bakeries in the Soviet Bloc."

The BDA said in August that nine out of 10 dentists in the UK could not offer NHS appointments to new adult patients, while eight in 10 could not accept new child patients.

More than 1,000 said they had wait times of a year or longer.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Comedian Victoria Vera Blyth was killed by her husband David Thomas Blyth

British businessman shoots his TV star wife dead in murder-suicide after 'row over her text messages' at Turkey home

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, was brutally attacked during attempted robbery

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, is attacked walking home from school

A decision not to charge police officers involved in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation has been upheld by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Stephen Lawrence murder detectives will not face prosecution, CPS announces

Justin Timberlake has been arrested for “driving while intoxicated”

Justin Timberlake arrested for 'driving while intoxicated' in wealthy Hamptons enclave

Three children went missing after a day at Thorpe Park

Three children missing after day out at Thorpe Park found safe and well by police

Keir Starmer responds to callers about Palestine.

Starmer says he would take 'full part' in resolving Israel Gaza conflict, pledging to recognise Palestine as part of two-state solution

Former footballer Joey Barton has apologised to Jeremy Vine for defaming him on social media and agreed to pay £75,000 in damages.

Ex-footballer Joey Barton apologises to Jeremy Vine and pays £75,000 in damages over defamatory posts

SAS doctors have accepted a pay offer from the government

SAS doctors accept new pay offer from government after months of negotiations

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friend from 'the middle of nowhere' after night out

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

'We would seek a better agreement' Keir Starmer tells LBC where he thinks "botched" Brexit deal can be improved

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show

Keir Starmer defends plan to repeal law protecting veterans from prosecution due to ‘lack of support’ in NI

Sir Keir Starmer took questions from LBC listeners this morning with a few weeks until the nation goes to the polls

Starmer refuses to rule out council tax hike, bins plans for football levy and admits he would have served under Corbyn

Sir Keir emphasised the importance of single-sex spaces

Trans people will be accommodated in 'side rooms' of single-sex wards, Sir Keir Starmer tells LBC

Three children went missing after a day at Thorpe Park

Three children missing after day out at Thorpe Park as police launch urgent search

Sir Keir Starmer skewered by LBC caller over Jeremy Corbyn

'I didn't think we would win': Keir Starmer skewered by LBC listener over supporting Jeremy Corbyn

Sir Keir Starmer speaks to LBC

‘No magic wand’ to recruit more teachers as Starmer insists removing ‘tax breaks’ for private schools is ‘tough choice’