New dental practice receives hundreds of phone calls amid opening

East Harling Dental Care has officially opened.

East Harling Dental Care has officially opened. From the right to the left, Roshan John, practice owner/dentist, Philip Edge, chairman of the East Harling parish Council, Saju Varghese, practice owner/dentist, Lushka Prentice, head dental nurse, Charlotte Ross, receptionist/trainee nurse. - Credit: Sibu Daniel

A new dental surgery has had 200 people register and hundreds of phone calls since it opened, as Norfolk struggles to meet the demand for dentists. 

East Harling Dental Care has opened in the village.

East Harling Dental Care has opened in the village. - Credit: Sibu Daniel

East Harling Dental Care, on Church Road, officially opened on Monday, July 5, and its owners, Saju Varghese and Roshan John, say they have already been seeing patients back-to-back.

Mr Varghese, who has been a dentist in Norfolk for 14 years, said: “We were meant to open July 2020.  

"We were going to have everything done by April/ May last year but when the coronavirus hit everything from fitting out the practice, to being inspected by the CQC got delayed.  

“It was not an easy time. I didn’t even have a job during the pandemic. But we managed to hold on and stay strong. 


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“The building we are in used to be a practice for quite a few years. It was an NHS practice in 2018, but they didn’t have dentists to run the place so they shut it down.  

"We tried to see if we could buy it back then but it didn't happen. The next thing we know, the landlord got in touch with us, we had a few discussions and he said that wanted to lease it out to us.” 

East Harling Dental Care has opened in the village.

East Harling Dental Care has officially opened in the village. Pictured is practice owner and dentist Saju Varghese and Philip Edge, chairman of the East Harling parish Council. - Credit: Sibu Daniel

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Mr John, from Ely, added: “We both liked the surgery because we knew the area very well and we know Norfolk is very short of dentists.  

“We are very happy we have finally opened." 

The pair hope to bring more dentists into the practice to help meet demand - as Norfolk faces a serious shortage.

And although it is a private practice, Mr John said they have tried to keep the prices and fees as competitive as possible.

Since opening they have been inundated with people trying to book in.

East Harling Dental Care has officially opened in the village.

East Harling Dental Care has officially opened in the village. - Credit: Sibu Daniel

Mr John said: “We had 99 missed calls by 9am when we got to reception on Monday. 

“The first day our phone lines couldn't take it."

Mr Varghese, from Bury St Edmunds, added: “We are hoping with our combined experience and being in the industry for so long, we can focus on educating patients in prevention and help people take care of their dental health. 

"We will do everything we can to help the community.” 

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