NHS to rap firm for 'breaching contract' and causing Portsmouth dental crisis

ACTION is being taken against a dental contractor after it pulled the plug on three NHS surgeries sparking a healthcare ‘crisis’.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 2nd August 2019, 7:05 am
NHS England is to punish Colosseum Dental for closing three practices in Portsmouth. The health body has also revealed plans for surgeries to take on more NHS patients in the city.

Colosseum Dental Limited is to be taken to task for ‘breaching its contract’ with the government.

The Swiss-owned company had given notice about its move to shut its surgeries in Paulsgrove, Southsea and Portsea. But it failed to run the surgeries until its contract ended on Wednesday.

The decision left at least 9,000 people without an NHS dentist and caused outrage in the city.

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Roger Batterbury, chairman of Healthwatch Portsmouth, has welcomed the move by NHS England to punish Colosseum Dental after it axed three dental practices in Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (170467-9160)

Sarah Macdonald, director of primary care and public health commissioning at NHS England, ‘confirmed’ that ‘formal action’ was now being taken because of the breach.

In a letter to Portsmouth Healthwatch, seen by The News, she said: ‘Breach notices have been issued and Colosseum will need to declare these as part of any future bid they were to make to provide other NHS dental services.’

She added: ‘While we understand Colosseum was experiencing staffing challenges, it is disappointing the provider did not act in the best interests of their patients by ceasing to provide services at the three practices ahead of their contractual obligations ending on July 31.’

The news came as the NHS revealed it had finalised a temporary agreement with Bupa to provide care for NHS patients at Cosham’s Northern Road surgery.

The NHS is also ‘finalising arrangements’ with the University of Portsmouth to provide dental care in the south of the city.

‘Their final agreement is pending but, with the additional care the Bupa practice is able to deliver, this would provide around 80 per cent of NHS treatment that was provided by the three Colosseum practices in 2018/19 and we are working with other local practices to put in place the remaining capacity as soon as possible,’ Mrs Macdonald added.

Roger Batterbury, chairman of Healthwatch Portsmouth, welcomed the news and added Colosseum needed to be punished.

He said: ‘This is absolutely the right course of action. Colosseum caused immense upset in the city. If providers don’t fulfil their contract they must know there will be repercussions.’

NHS England said payments for any NHS services not delivered by Colosseum would be recovered.

The News approached Colosseum for comment.