A NEW dental surgery is to be built in Cirencester to help provide treatment for up to 7,500 patients.

Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust says the new practice will be up and running by the end of the year.

The surgery will provide routine NHS dental treatment as well as emergency treatment as part of the PCT's aim to provide free dental care for residents across the county.

New centres will also be built at Tewkerbury and Lydney as part of the plans with two or three new dentists at each facility.

Recent research by the PCT showed more investment was needed in the Cotswolds following the proision of NHS dental servicesin Gloucester and Stroud.

Chief executive of Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust, Jan Stubbings, said: "This marks further progress in our plans to improve and increase access to NHS dental services in Gloucestershire.

"We know from feedback that this is a major priority for local people and this announcement is another positive step in the right direction."

Health chiefs will be working with Chipping Manor Dental Practice Ltd to plan the new facility.

The Chipping Manor Dental Practice is the 2008 British Dental Association Practice of the year. The PCT chose the company because of its track record of setting up new practices recently.

Plans are at an early stage and it is not yet possible for patients to express an interest in receiving care and treatment at the practices.

The PCT hopes to announce potential site locations later in the year and will publish and promote details of how to express an interest later in the year when plans have been finalised.