MORE than 8,000 people in York and Selby are still waiting to see an NHS dentist – four times as many as the number of those who have been found a place for teeth treatment.

Figures which will go before City of York Council’s health watchdog this week on NHS dental provision across the two areas show that 1,491 people who put their name down on a dentistry database between five and six months ago have still not been assigned.

A report by NHS North Yorkshire and York says there were 8,299 names on the waiting list as of November 10, while between April 1 and that date, dental places were found for 2,057 patients.

In the same period, 9,722 people were added on to the primary care trust’s database – which allows patients throughout the region to register to see an NHS dentist – with dental demand reaching a peak in May when 1,705 patients went on the list.

But the figures, produced by the trust for the council’s health overview and scrutiny committee which meets this week, also show a rise in the number of people who have seen a dentist in the previous two years, as governed by Department of Health performance targets. Between September 2007 and September 2009, 101,824 new dental patients in York had been able to access dental care, compared with 90,046 in the two years leading up to September 2008.

The statistics will be discussed at the committee’s next meeting at the Guildhall on Wednesday, when they will also have the chance to quiz Lorraine Naylor, NHS North Yorkshire and York’s acting assistant director for primary care.

The report also said that, based on national figures which estimate that 40 per cent of people do not regularly use NHS dental services, 75,920 York residents may either be missing out or using emergency or private dentistry options.

“NHS North Yorkshire and York recognises that, due to the recent promotion of NHS dental services after procurements undertaken across the patch, an increase in additions to the (waiting) list has been seen,” it added.

“While patients have been assigned soon after new contracts are awarded, a stepped start to some contracts will affect patient allocation in the early stages.

“NHS North Yorkshire and York acknowledges that, as new contracts mature, practitioners will receive their full allocation.”

Earlier this year, the trust announced it was investing £5 million in dental facilities across the region.