EMERGENCY dental services at a Southampton health centre are set to be cut as part of a county-wide shake-up.

Bitterne Health Centre will no longer provide urgent dental health to those patients suddenly struck down with toothache in the city as part of the changes set to be introduced at the beginning of April.

Health bosses have reassured those who fear they will be unable to get the treatment they need in an emergency by confirming that the service will be available at a number of new locations.

These have yet to be decided but they have vowed that outof- hours dental care will be run from more locations across the city and some will be open for longer hours.

The move that affects emergency dental care across Hampshire, comes after the county’s primary care trusts and Southern Health agreed to end the contract it currently holds to run emergency services on March 31.

On that date a new provider will take over, resulting in the relocation of current services.

Natalie Jones, head of dental services commissioning and contracting for the SHIP PCT Cluster, said: “Emergency dental provision will not however stop after this date.

“In fact, the PCT is currently arranging alternative service provision which will see out-of-hours dental care in more locations across Southampton, Hampshire and Portsmouth, and with increased hours in some areas.

“We are still working on exact locations, but will publicise these once confirmed so that people are aware.”

The new service, which will be commissioned by the NHS National Commissioning Board from April 1, will be appointment only via NHS 111.