Portsmouth dentist opens in Portsmouth with more than 21,000 NHS appointments available
MORE that 21,000 NHS dental appointments a year are now available at a new practice in the city.
Smile Dental Care is welcoming patients to its surgery in the former Hanway Medical Practice in Hanway Road, Buckland, as part of a new contract to replace appointments lost when Colosseum Dental closed three surgeries in 2019 – with bookings now open.
Following the closures of the sites in Southsea, Portsea and Paulsgrove more than 20,000 patients were left without an NHS dentist.
Healthwatch Portsmouth said it had been ‘impossible’ for those patients to book appointments in the city since then, with some travelling as far as Southampton, Chichester and even the Isle of Wight to be seen.
Roger Batterbury, from Healthwatch Portsmouth, said: ‘We are really really pleased this new surgery is opening with NHS appointments.
‘We have been involved in this process since Colosseum closed its sites and we made sure the contractors were offered enough money so they didn’t just set up and then leave again.
‘I think the word to describe trying to get an NHS appointment in Portsmouth has been “impossible”.
’I know from experience trying to book appointments on behalf of a relative that there has been nothing available unless it is considered a real emergency. Eventually they were offered one in Waterlooville after proving it was an emergency – which is fine if you have the transport, but not everyone does. I’ve heard from people travelling to Southampton, Gosport, Chichester and even the Isle of Wight to be seen.’
As reported, Cosham Dental Surgery, a private practice in Cosham high street, was also awarded a contract to accept NHS patients as part of the recovery after the Colosseum closures.
It will have capacity of up to 10,000 NHS appointments a year and will open services in the coming months.
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan added: ‘Access to NHS dental services is at crisis point in our city and government targets and inaction are making matters worse.
‘Over 9 million children have missed out on dental appointments since Covid struck and the same for over 15 million paying adults and for 4 million adults entitled to free care.
‘Whilst the new practice is a step in the right direction, this only replaces provision people in Portsmouth lost a couple of years ago.
‘That’s why I will continue to take action in calling on government to set out a roadmap for recovery for dental services. Access to a dentist shouldn’t be a luxury, but a vital health service.’
The Hanway Road practice was due to open in April but delays meant it opened on June 1.
It will also offer private appointments as well as 21,500 NHS slots a year.
Patients wishing to join the practice can contact (023) 9323 3177.