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Bristol teacher forced to glue his own dentures together amid dentist shortage | UK News

A teacher told Sky News he has resorted to gluing his own dentures back together amid a shortage of NHS dentists.

Norman Stephenson, 66, was one of hundreds of people who queued for treatment at Bristol’s newest NHS dental practice, St Pauls.

The office said they enrolled 1,500 people in two days after opening on Monday, but warned they will soon have to turn newcomers away.

Speaking to Sky News on The UK Tonight, the teacher said he’s been taking desperate measures to keep his dentures together while trying to get seen at a practice.

He told Sky’s Sarah Jane-Mee that he has been using hard plastic glue to repair a split in the false teeth, saying: “I tried several super glues but they were too brisk and they kept snapping every time I tried to bite into something.

“I discovered this hard plastic glue that kind of fits with the make-up of my dentistry. It had this movement so it wouldn’t break. I’ve had to use that ever since.

“But every couple of days or so, it finally breaks. So I have to go and do an operation over and over again.”

Mr Stephenson said that in his “desperate situation,” he originally tried to talk to his BUPA dentist who moved practices across Bristol.

Norman Stephenson, 66 from Bristol, who had to superglue his dentures back together. The UK Tonight with Sarah Jane-Mee.

The 66-year-old added that he was prepared to drive to his dentist, but said: “I was not allowed to see her and they were just talking about private treatment. So I gave up on that.

“I was told to phone 111, I phoned 111 and they sent me to several dentists, not just a BUPA organisation, gave me numbers, and I tried those and all they were interested in was private patients.

“Some of them said they had enough NHS patients, and really couldn’t take any more, and some just weren’t interested. But I just couldn’t get through.

“So I just practically gave up really. The reason why I’d done that was because these dentures were split in two. I’m an artist and a performer and I need to have my lovely smile.”

Dr Kunal Patel, clinical director of the Love Teeth Dental Practice, also told Sky News: “The reception staff, the team, the dentists, we want to help people like Norman.”

Read more:
Britons ‘pulling own teeth out’ because they can’t access NHS dentists
Dentists to be offered cash incentives to treat NHS patients

Dr Kunal Patel, clinical director of the Love Teeth Dental Practice. The UK Tonight with Sarah Jane-Mee.
Dr Kunal Patel, clinical director of the Love Teeth Dental Practice.

The dentist then said: “It’s not the clinics’ choice not to provide NHS treatment. If we’re an NHS practice, we have a certain quota, that we can only see a certain number of patients in.

“If we reach that quota, to see someone like Norman, what I would have to do is call up an existing patient of mine and say ‘Mrs X, do you mind not being a patient of mine anymore?'”

Strep A: Pharmacies warn of penicillin shortage as parents urged not to self-diagnose their children | UK News

A senior pharmacist says a penicillin shortage is leading to fears that some prescriptions will not be filled as seasonal sickness levels continue to rise.

Pharmacy director Zeshan Rehmani criticised the Department of Health for being “out of touch” after it mooted proposals to give antibiotics to children in schools to help fend off illnesses including Strep A – saying: “There’s no drugs. Today, we haven’t been able to get any penicillin in stock at all.”

His warning comes amid concerns some parents have been resorting to using old or out-of-date antibiotics they have found at home to treat their children.

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Ninth child dies in Strep A outbreak

That led to Thorrun Govind, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, cautioning against self-diagnosis and urging parents to talk to their GP instead.

She has warned leftover antibiotics must be returned to pharmacies as there is a risk that children could be given an incorrect dose.

Nine children in the UK are known to have died in a recent outbreak of a form of Strep A, an infection that is usually mild and treated easily with the antibiotic amoxicillin.

But an invasive form of the bacteria known as iGAS has increased this year – particularly in those under the age of 10.

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Schools ‘may’ get Strep A antibiotics

The National Pharmacy Association confirmed there had been a spike in demand for some antibiotics, including those used to treat Strep A infection in children.

A statement said: “Pharmacies are having to work very hard to obtain stocks of these antibiotics, and some lines are temporarily unavailable.

“We have been advised by wholesalers that most lines will be replenished soon, but we cannot say exactly when that will be.

“As always, pharmacists will continue to work with local GPs to help people get the medicines they need as promptly as possible, which may require a change of prescription.”

Mr Rehmani, whose pharmacy is in Manchester, told Sky News’ Inzamam Rashid: “When we hear stories about possibly giving antibiotics to children in schools, it just shows how out of touch the Department of Health is with on-the-ground pharmacy.”

He added: “Pharmacists across the country are thinking we haven’t got enough penicillin to fill our prescriptions, let alone handing it out to schools.”

Read more:
What is Strep A and what are the symptoms?
Strep A generally causes mild infections – why the spate of deaths now?

Inzamam Rashid piece on the growing issue of Strep A, colds, and flu in the North West of England

‘No shortage’

Health minister Maria Caulfield said a cross-party briefing had been held for MPs on Strep A, and she denied there was a shortage of antibiotics.

She said: “We want to reassure parents if their children do have symptoms, and they are concerned to seek help – GPs are ready, A&E departments are ready, and also we have directors of public health proactively going into schools where there are cases.

“There is no shortage of antibiotics we want to reassure people on that, and we’re keeping an eye on that on a daily basis.”

Dr Colin Brown, UKHSA deputy director, told Sky News there was “long-standing guidance” that enables health protection teams to assess the situation in schools and nurseries to consider antibiotic prophylaxis for “either a group of children in certain classes or an entire nursery school”.

Following the death of at least nine children across the UK, Dr Brown reiterated there was no evidence to suggest there had been a change to the circulating strains of Strep A to make them more severe.

He suggested it was a lack of mixing due to the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to the susceptibility in children that was “bringing forward the normal scarlet fever season” to this side of Christmas.