Private dentists have contacted the newspaper to say private dental plans offer a good service to patients.

The dentist debate was sparked by news that the Old Grammar School Dental Surgery in St Ives is to go private in the new year, offering patients a dental plan.

Private dentists have contacted the newspaper to say private dental plans offer a good service to patients.

The dentist debate was sparked by news that the Old Grammar School Dental Surgery in St Ives is to go private in the new year, offering patients a dental plan.

The surgery was keen to point out to patients that the plan includes more than just a check-up. The plan covers two dental health examinations a year, including a clinical examination and screening for oral cancer, and two hygiene appointments a year.

It also covers an assessment of emergencies and dental pain carried out at the practice during normal surgery hours, and a 15 per cent discount on dental treatment required.

The private v NHS debate has also caused a parish councillor to write to Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Health.

Bridget Smith, a parish councillor in Hemingford Grey, copied her letter to The Hunts Post, saying: "I am very disturbed by the situation regarding NHS dentistry. Dental health is an integral part of an individual's health, not merely a cosmetic addition."

Ms Smith, a botanist aged 70, is a patient at the Old Grammar School Dental Surgery in St Ives, where, as reported by The Hunts Post last week, three dentists are to "withdraw from the NHS".

Patients were informed in a letter signed by dentists, Tim Rodgers, his wife, Jacquetta Dring and colleague Debbie Hayes. A fourth dentist at the practice, Tim Rodgers' mother, Valerie Rodgers, said she would continue to treat her existing NHS patients as NHS patients.

Ms Smith said: "I do not know where to direct my anger or my sadness."

* HAVE your say: Email: news@huntspost.co.uk or write to: The Dental Debate, The Newsroom, The Hunts Post 30, High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB.