SIR: It is said that one learns something new every day, and today has been one of those days.

Because I have a tooth that has disintegrated, I called in at Marlfield House, where I have been a patient for some 20 years, to make an appointment to see a dentist, only to be told that, as I had not been visiting every six months, I had been "de-registered" and, therefore, could not make any appointment to see a dentist.

In all of the 63 years of my adult life, it has never been suggested to me that there was a requirement to visit a NHS dentist every six months, nor have I ever been warned that irregular attendance would result in denial of medical assistance, nor, indeed, was I advised that I was about/liable to be 'de-registered', which one would have thought was required. The decision is entirely arbitrary. I would very much doubt that such a six monthly regulation exists within the NHS, and that BUPA, which recently took over at Marlfield House, has invented such a requirement, to find an 'excuse' to weed out NHS patients and replace them with those who will pay for private treatment, so that more profit can be made.

One wonders if the NHS is aware that some dentists are churning patients in this manner for profit - requiring attendance every six months so that the NHS can be billed - making those patients use the service inappropriately, more frequently and unnecessarily.. Also, is the NHS aware that patients are being cast adrift without warning?

John Seager Green,

Hospital of St. Cross,

St Cross,