A patient at a ‘profitable, well established’ York dental practice has revealed the shock at the decision to close it.
Bupa Dental Care York is a seven-surgery dental practice which treats both NHS and private patients in a purpose-built home on Holgate Park Drive.
But it is due to close on 30 June, leaving its 27 staff searching for another job, and adding to York’s major dentistry crisis.
Now one patient has written to both York MPs to urge them to liaise with the Bupa staff to offer support to keep the practice open.
The patient, who has asked not to be named, told YorkMix: “The practice team are shocked and devastated.
“They need an explanation from Bupa as to why this practice is closing, as it is well established, has no problem recruiting staff and they think that it is profitable.
“They are looking at the options to keep the practice viable and open.”
The closure will deepen the dental care crisis in York. Last year, Healthwatch York reported a 30% decline in the number of residents with a dentist.
It said: “There has been a huge increase in the number of people unable to access dental care for two to three years.”
Residents waiting for years
York has about 40 dental practices, and only half treat NHS patients. Residents have reported being on a waiting list for years.
The Parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee, including York Central MP Rachael Maskell, is conducting an inquiry into dentistry following a survey that showed 90% of practices across the UK were not accepting new adult NHS patients.
Bupa Dental Care is set to cut 85 dental practices. It says it will redeploy affected staff where possible to different areas of the business.
The provider has not been able to recruit enough dentists to deliver NHS care in many practices for months and in some cases years, it said.
National shortages of dentists have been worsened by the NHS contract model, and because of an increased demand and complexity of care since the Covid pandemic, Bupa warned.
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.”