Bupa to close more than 80 dental practices

Bupa to close more than 80 dental practices

Bupa Dental Care is to close, sell or merge 85 dental practices in the UK, due to the ‘national shortage of dentists and the impact of inflation’. 

Revealed today, the release states the decision was influenced by increased costs and high energy prices, as well as the struggle to recruit dentists to deliver NHS care.

The release reads: ‘Despite significant investment by Bupa Dental Care, the business has been unable to recruit enough dentists to deliver NHS care in many practices for months, and in some cases, years.

‘This is due to the industry-wide challenges of the NHS contract model, and increased demand and complexity of care since the pandemic.’

As a result, it states, patients at these practices have not been able to access the NHS dental services they need.

Invest in community needs

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.’

This news comes just days after it was revealed NHS dental charges will increase.

Charges in England will increase by 8.5% from 24 April 2023. This will mean the cost of a band 1 treatment like a check up will increase from £23.80 to £25.80 while a band 2 like a filling will increase from £65.20 to £70.70. 

A band 3, like dentures, will increase from £282.80 to £306.80 – an increase of £24.

Additional pressure

Mark added: ‘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.

‘This decision enables us to focus our efforts on high-quality, continued sustainable care for patients across our wider portfolio.’

The affected dental practices will either be sold, closed or merged later this year, with the timing of the service changes varying by location.

Bupa will be working with the affected practices over the coming months. It expects to complete the process later in the year.

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