"I wish I had been a dentist instead of a miner": Rotherham man unable to get NHS dentist faces £6,000 bill 

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"I worked at Silverwood, not Hollywood, and I’m on benefits - I just can’t do it."

An ex-miner from Rotherham, who has been unable to get an NHS dentist in the last year, has two options: be left "in agony" for the foreseeable future, or pay almost £6,000.

David Creamer, aged 62, has been trying to get an NHS dentist since the beginning of last year when a crown, incorporating almost half of his top teeth, fell out, leaving him unable to eat solid food.

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Earlier this month, in desperation, he paid for a private consultation and was told they could do the work, including extracting the majority of his teeth, the next day - for £5,500.

David Creamer, who can't get an NHS dentist. Photo by Dave Poucher.David Creamer, who can't get an NHS dentist. Photo by Dave Poucher.
David Creamer, who can't get an NHS dentist. Photo by Dave Poucher.

He said: "I wish my teeth would just all just drop out, and then I won't need a dentist. And I wish I were a dentist, instead of working at the pits all those years ago."

David was told he could finance the cost, for £190 per month, and £360 upfront, but this is not a viable option for him.

"I worked at Silverwood, not Hollywood. I’m on benefits of £100 per week. I just can’t do it," he said.

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Initially, David called Charles Clifford Dental Hospital in Sheffield, where dentists train, but they can only see patients once they have been referred by another dentist.

"I told them, I can’t even get a dentist in the first place," he said.

David, aged 62, used to work at Silverwood Coal Mine.David, aged 62, used to work at Silverwood Coal Mine.
David, aged 62, used to work at Silverwood Coal Mine.

Recent statistics have shown that only one dental surgery in Rotherham is accepting new adult patients, with a waiting list to come after registering.

David added: "It's not my ball game, politics, not at all - I prefer sport - but it seems to be a class system, that's how it looks.

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"Now I can see how broken it all is. It’s no problem at all getting an appointment offered if you have cash.

"There is no charity to help either, so I'm just hoping some magic hero might say, ‘hello, we can help you’."

He wrote to his MP Sarah Champion "out of despair" last year.

She said: "I am furious that my constituent has been left to suffer years of pain, surviving on a diet of painkillers and soup, after being let down by the overstretched and under-funded system."

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NHS waiting lists can be as long as four years for some South Yorkshire dentists.

While David waits, he is avoiding losing weight by "sucking on chocolate" in the evenings, and otherwise eating soup, rice pudding, and other soft food.

"If it weren’t for co-codamol and tablets to stop my stomach bleeding, I would be in total agony all the time," he said.

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