Private healthcare group shuts two dental practices due to staff shortages

A private healthcare company has shut two of its practices after struggling to recruit dentists, it has been revealedA private healthcare company has shut two of its practices after struggling to recruit dentists, it has been revealed.

Last month, Bupa told staff at two of its practices in north Wales that they would be shutting the doors permanently from February next year.

The company has confirmed that any appointments before this time will be unaffected by the decision.

Now, Bupa are working to help patients from the Colwyn Bay and Caernarfon practices transfer to a new dentist.

National shortage

Bupa states a shortage of dentists in the area as the reason for the closures.

‘We’ve taken the difficult decision to close two of our practices in north Wales,’ says Sharon Drury, regional operations director at Bupa Dental Care.

‘There is currently a national shortage of dentists. Despite significant efforts, we have not been able to appoint the dentists needed to keep these practices open.

‘There won’t be any immediate changes and we are working with the NHS and other nearby practices to help patients transfer to a new dentist.

‘We’re also working to support our colleagues and will look to find them alternative employment options within Bupa wherever possible.’

The company confirms the COVID-19 pandemic did not influence the decision.

Firefighting backlogs

This comes as the British Dental Association (BDA) estimates a 19 million-strong backlog of dental appointments.

As a result, the association has called on urgent government support in a bid to save both private and NHS practices from financial ruin.

‘COVID restrictions have left dentists firefighting with huge backlogs, unable to see more than a fraction of our former patient numbers, especially in the NHS,’ said BDA chair Eddie Crouch

‘We now face a catch-22. New rules could bring back a dose of normality. But they also come with a multimillion pound bill for new kit that practices simply cannot afford.’

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