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Bristol Post
Bristol Post
Yvonne Deeney

Bristol dental practice among 85 set to close at the end of June

Bupa Dental Care in St Pauls is set to close on June 30, it has been announced. The branch is one of 85 Bupa dental practices affected amid a national dentist shortage.

Bupa, which provides NHS and private dental care, said the 85 practices will be closed, sold or merged later this year, bringing the total number of practices in the UK down to 365. All the practices will remain open as usual in the meantime.

The move will affect 1,200 employed and self-employed staff, representing more than a tenth of its 9,000-strong workforce. Bupa said it would redeploy affected staff where possible to different areas of the business.

READ MORE: 85 dental practices to close amid national shortage in dentists - full list

In an email sent out to Bupa patients registered ate the St Pauls branch, in Ashley Road, the company advised patients to visit the Bupa website if they wished to remain under Bupa dental care. Some patients may be able to be referred to nearby dentists, while others have been directed to the NHS website to find an alternative dental care provider.

The two remaining Bupa Dental Care branches, in Clifton and St George are not listed for closure but neither are currently accepting NHS patients. While there are a handful of the 50 Bristol dentists listed on the NHS website as accepting NHS patients on a referral basis, there are none that currently state they are currently accepting NHS patients.

It follows reports that people have turned to performing dental procedures on themselves amid a backlog in dental care. The British Dental Association said that the service is “approaching the end of the road” unless the Government and opposition outline a clear plan to reform and properly fund NHS dentistry.

Mark Allan, general manager for Bupa Dental Care, said: “As a leading dental provider in the UK, our priority must be to enable patients to receive the care they need. For the majority of affected practices, this decision will allow commissioners to procure local providers for the NHS contract, tailoring services and investment to the needs of the local community, thereby providing a better opportunity for patients to continue access to NHS dental services.”

Bupa said it would be handing back the dental contract to the NHS for practices that are set to close, meaning commissioners can find a new provider to continue treating patients in the area. Mr Allan went on: “We fully understand the impact today’s decision has on our patients and our people within these practices.

“This decision has not been taken lightly and closure is a last resort. Despite our continued efforts, the dental industry is facing a number of significant and systemic challenges that are placing additional pressure on providing patient care, in particular recruiting dentists to deliver NHS dental care.”


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