FOR most of us a trip to the dentist is met with some reluctance but for a dad and his four-year-old son in Gosport it also means a 160-mile round trip.
Michael McGhee settled in the town four years ago with his family from south west London.
But the Irish native was left baffled after NHS dentists in the area couldn’t take his son Patryk.
The 46-year-old said: ‘When Patryk started nursery we wanted him to have a check-up and because of his age he would get free NHS treatment but all the dentists had no space and said we would be looking at a waiting list of six months to a year.
‘I thought it was ridiculous that unless you could afford to pay for a dentist then that is how long you would have to wait. We ended up registering with our old dentist in Clapham and now we have to travel 80 miles each way to get a check-up.’
The family have gone back to the dentists in the area to ask if there are spaces but did not join a waiting list.
Michael said: ‘We have asked and it’s always the same answer that there is months of waiting. We haven’t joined the list because it is pointless because we would never get an appointment.
‘Just last week friends were told they would have to wait up to a year to become a patient and I think with new people moving in and out of the area all the time there needs to be a better system.’
NHS England is responsible for commissioning dental services across the country and is required to meet the needs of their local population for both urgent and routine dental care.
A spokeswoman for NHS England said records show that practices in Gosport were taking on NHS patients but the practices have to update this information themselves.
It comes after a dental crisis in Portsmouth when 20,000 NHS dentist patients were left facing difficulties when Colosseum Dental shut three sites in Portsmouth before its contract ran out.
For anyone who can’t find an NHS dentist they should call NHS England's Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233.