"Difficulties in finding a dentist/doctor when I moved"

About: Cumbria Teaching PCT

(as the patient),

From putting my name on the PCT waiting list I had to wait a year before they found me a place with a dentist in Carlisle and I know of others who have had similar experiences. When I moved here I originally also had problems finding a place with a doctor and now I am with one it is often hard to make an appointment if you need to see someone that day (i.e. you have to book weeks in advance which is a bit hard given you don't know weeks in advance that you will be ill or hurt). I think these are points that may be worth discussing amongst NHS service providers/the NHS as I am sure that other young people as they move away from home are faced with similar difficulties. In particular younger people tend not to need regular appointments with doctors but often need them irregularly at the time of sickness/accident.

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Response from NHS Cumbria

Thank you for taking the time post your experience. It might be helpful to explain that GPs will only accept patients who reside within their practice area, but anyone having difficulty registering with a practice can contact NHS Cumbria Registration Team for help. In terms of access to appointments, there are guidelines enabling patients to obtain an appointment with a GP within a reasonable time. However, if a patient wishes to see a particular GP on a specific date or time, then this is obviously more difficult for the practice to arrange. If a patient encounters particular difficulties in this respect they should initially discuss this with the practice manager; failing that then the patient could contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0300 123 9006.

In terms of the access to NHS Dentistry, registration with a Dentist ended on 31 March 2006 and therefore patients are free to move around Practices as they wish. Appointment times are reviewed annually with each Practice. However, we do appreciate that getting a Dentist in Carlisle has not been as easy as in other parts of Cumbria. We have been gathering information via the Dental database and we are putting in place a new 3 surgery Practice, the target date for operation being August 2010. However, we recognise the frustration that this causes our patients and we would like to apologise for this and assure you that these comments will be taken on board.

Thank you.

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