A DENTIST who was secretly filmed denying a patient treatment he was entitled to on the NHS has claimed he still has the support of his patients.

Dr David Sackwild, 57, of the Glebelands Dental Practice in South Woodford, was one of three dentists featured in a Channel Four Dispatches programme investigating claims that dentists are trying to get patients to pay privately for work they could have done on the NHS.

An undercover reporter who booked an appointment at the surgery in Glebelands Avenue was told by Dr Sackwild that he had an abscess which would require root canal treatment.

Dr Sackwild told him that he would not have time to carry out the treatment on the NHS, but recommended getting the work done privately by a specialist attached to the practice at a cost of £480.

The dentist, who has worked in South Woodford for 31 years, told The Guardian that he simply did not have enough NHS funds left to perform the treatment.

“I mishandled it,” he said.

“In the future when patients phone up we’ll inform them that, apart from urgent emergency treatment, patients requiring routine NHS dental care should make appointments after April 1 when our new financial year starts.

“I’ve learnt my lesson, but the funding situation is outrageous.”

Dr Sackwild said that since the last review of NHS dental funding in 2006 two other NHS dental practices in the area have gone private, vastly increasing demand at the Glebelands practice.

“We are busting at the seams. We can’t get the NHS funding to stretch over the 12 months, it’s impossible.

“We are now the only NHS practice in South Woodford which has a population of 23,000 people and there have been 700 new properties built within a few miles of here since 2006.”

On the programme Dr Anthony Halperin of the Royal Society of Medicine said: “It may not be remunerative for him to do it, but that’s not the same as saying he hasn’t got the time to do it.

“You wonder why he should be working in the NHS in that case. You can’t pick and choose in the NHS what work you want to do and what you don’t want to do.”

But Dr Sackwild said: “I have had a lot of support from patients and colleagues. I’ve got more important things to worry about. I’ve got grandchildren. I’ve got a life.”