Bidding war ends – and Alchemy creates 7,000 new NHS dental places
Around 7,000 NHS dental places have been made available in Staffordshire with the opening of a new £1 million practice.
Four dentists have been recruited to work at the centre due to open in Shelton in six weeks.
They will be supported by more than 30 hygienists, therapists, technicians and support staff to make it one of Staffordshire’s biggest practices.
Private company Alchemy is setting up the practice in Queen Anne Street after latest figures showed two out of three Shelton residents have no-one to care for their teeth.
It comes a month after 5,000 patients were left without NHS care when a practice shut suddenly.
An Alchemy spokesman said: ‘It will be state-of-the-art and exceed the expectations of people in those neighbourhoods.
‘There will be nine surgeries off a waiting area, plus a drop-in centre for people in pain and a lecture room.
‘We will have vocational training and forge close links with the local community as well as universities and schools.
‘It will be something for the area to be proud of.
‘We will try to give priority to local people but others can also apply to be registered.’
Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust (PCT) awarded the £650,000 a year contract to Alchemy after a bidding war.
The trust plans to invest a similar amount of money into a second centre next year.
PCT planning head Ian Gibson said: ‘We chose Alchemy because we were impressed by their plans for the practice and the fact they run a successful one in Crewe.
‘We invested in the Shelton and Hanley West ward after an audit showed only 35 per cent of people had access to a dentist, which is the lowest in the city.
‘We have warned our dental advice line to expect an increase in calls because we want to start a waiting list early so the practice can get cracking from day one.’
The PCT board will be asked to approve the Alchemy appointment at a meeting on July 29, with the practice set to open a week later.