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All smiles in south Somerset as campaign takes root

The Yeovil Express has secured a breakthrough in its bid to bring NHS dental care to the people of south Somerset.

A new dental care centre was opened this week, bringing the first opportunity for many patients in the area to register on the NHS after existing surgeries went private or stopped accepting news NHS patients.

The new centre will make available four dentists, allowing up to 10,000 people in the Yeovil area to register as NHS patients.

Yeovil Express editor-in-chief Ken Bird said: “This opening is a fitting climax to the Save Our Smiles campaign.”

Save Our Smiles collected a petition boasting more than 2,000 signatures, which was taken to Downing Street by Ken and his chief reporter Steve Sowden and MP David Laws, who has been leading the campaign.

The Express, along with the Chard and Ilminster News, teamed up with the MP in October to beg the Government to improve access to NHS dentistry when it was revealed no dentists in the area were taking on new NHS adult patients.

The paper said many people were being forced into a more expensive private option because they had no choice.

MP Mr Laws said: “This is a good result for all those who have campaigned for so long for better dental services in our area – and is one of the most satisfying days for me since being elected as MP for Yeovil.”

But he added that although it was good news locally, there were other patients across the region, including in Chard, Crewkerne and Ilminster, that were being forced to make do with an “unacceptable” situation.

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