Dental patients failed in Portsmouth due to dental practice closures

Dental patients failed in Portsmouth due to dental practice closures

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Now there are warnings of a potential crisis
in NHS dental services in the South if more resources aren’t put into recruiting and retaining
staff. Well it come as the Colosseum Dental Group
announced it’s to close its three practices in Paulsgrove, Portsea and Southsea, leaving thousands of people in Portsmouth
without an NHS dentist. Well the company says it’s due to ongoing
challenges in recruitment and other dentists say they’re facing similar pressures. Rachel Hepworth has more: Phil Gowers was a dentist for many years,
he now represents others in his profession, some struggling to fulfill Government contracts at a time when
most dental vacancies can’t be filled. This puts an amazing amount of stress on the
team, so much so that mental health issue is a real problem. Those that have the highest NHS contract have
the lowest moral, and I’ve got four cases at the moment I’m trying to save some of the dental team members from
a very sad situation. The pressures have been too much for Colosseum
who last week announced the closure of three surgeries in Portsmouth leaving NHS patients with no option
but to go private or travel longer distances. Those within the profession say it’s a national
problem which the Government has not been addressing. We’ve been telling them this crisis is about
to develop they haven’t believed us. We need receptive ears in NHS England and the Department of Health, to actually
produce solutions because we as a profession would like to provide proper care for our patients. And the fear is that without an accessible
alternative patients and in particular children just won’t go to the dentist, leading to bigger problems in the
long run. It’s a lot better and a lot cheaper to have
a preventable disease than to try and cure a catch-up on something that’s caused a major problem. If you look
at the most common reason for nine to thirteen year olds to go to hospital is for tooth extractions, and that
costs the Government £35 billion a year. NHS England say they are offering support
for people to find alternative care, but some dentists fear the crisis will only deepen if the issues are brushed under
the carpet. Rachel with us now. Rachel what will these closures
actually mean? Well of course my report was focusing there
on the impact on dentists themselves but they will say of course it’s all about the patients and in this case some
nine thousand of them. The worry they have that if a dentist isn’t
easily accessible then people simply won’t go for regular checkups and that could store up more problems
in the future. We’ve done stories in the past of course on Meridian of extreme measures, people taking measures into their own hands if they can’t find a dentist even extracting teeth themselves which clearly we don’t want to see, but because these changes haven’t happened yet we don’t quite know what the impact will be so that ‘s why we want to hear from our viewers as well about how it affects them for good or for bad so we can get a better picture of dental provision here in in the South. Rachel, thank you very much.

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