Fears grow that some Portsmouth areas could remain without a dentist
FEARS have been raised that two of the city's most deprived areas could remain without an NHS dentist, despite warnings from city politicians.
Members of Portsmouth's health and wellbeing board agreed to 'push' for answers from NHS England as the procurement process for new dentists in the city revealed specific locations were not being considered.
After Swiss-company Colosseum Dental shut down its three city practices without warning in July last year - leaving 20,000 patients without an NHS dentist - councillors demanded replacements must be found in Paulsgrove and Portsea.
Speaking at a health and wellbeing board meeting todaycouncil leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'I had a meeting yesterday with dental providers interested in applying for roles within the city.
'I thought we had been clear here that our hope was there would be physical provision in Paulsgrove and Portsea. I was very concerned with the feedback saying that was not the case - NHS England was just looking at Portsmouth north and Portsmouth south in general.
'I want us to be a bit more pushy.’
Cllr Judith Smyth agreed. 'We told them we had acquired a dental practice in Paulsgrove and Portsea,' she said.
The other Colosseum practice to shut at the time was in Southsea, however, councillors had agreed the other two locations were a priority.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson also had fears that adding patients to existing practices was not the right solution.
He added: 'The bit we need to be worried about is if we are just going to add all these people to a list of existing practices we are concentrating patients to a small amount of practices.
'If any practice goes under if affects more and more people by having less providers. NHS England look as if they are getting this wrong in every single way in every single step of this process.'
A spokesman for NHS England said: 'We will be going out to procure new dental contracts in Portsmouth; one north of the M27 which includes Paulsgrove, as well as a contract south of the M27 which includes Portsea.'
Temporary extra NHS dental care in Portsmouth is currently available through Bupa and Perfect Smile practices.