New dental patients in Bolton are unlikely to be able to receive treatment on the NHS in the immediate future, it has emerged.
None of the borough's 32 dental practices are taking on any more NHS patients at present, despite the fact that a recent government report claimed an increase in the amount of work being performed on the NHS over the last 12 months.
Anna Basford, director of primary care provision at the local primary care trust, told the Bolton News: "We are aware it is proving difficult at times in Bolton to find an NHS dental practice taking on new patients, but we are confident of improvements in the next couple of years."
Nearly £1 million is being invested in new practices in Bolton, but that will provide little reassurance for people who require dental treatment at the present time.
The British Dental Association recently warned that the shake-up of NHS dentistry had done little to inspire confidence in the profession.
Chief executive Peter Ward commented: "By the government's own admission, we now have fewer NHS dentists and access to care for patients remains patchy.
"This is not a picture of success and confidence."
What's better? Private or NHS healthcare?