Hucknall dental services under even more strain as BUPA practice suspends NHS service

The practice, on Portland Road, is now only providing care for private patients while current registered NHS patients have been told to they need to find another dentist as the practice cannot offer any NHS services at present.

The move is huge blow for residents already facing the current squeeze on services across all sectors.

A BUPA spokesperson said: “We understand how difficult it is to get an NHS dental appointment in Nottinghamshire, and we’re sorry that we’re not able to offer NHS appointments at this time.

The BUPA dental care practice in Hucknall has stopped taking on new NHS patients. Photo: Google

“The dental sector across the UK is experiencing a national skills shortage, which makes it extremely difficult to recruit dentists to deliver NHS care.

“The Hucknall practice currently has four long-standing vacancies for NHS dentists, and despite our best efforts, finding NHS dentists for these roles is very challenging due to the workforce shortages.

“We want to reassure all our patients that we’re doing everything we can to recruit more dentists to Bupa Dental Care Hucknall.

“Please be assured that we will be in contact with patients when we can offer NHS appointments.”

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With the practice no longer providing its NHS service, it means there is just one current NHS dental provider in Hucknall, Portland Road Family Dental Centre, opposite the BUPA practice.

For Hucknall residents, the move puts even more pressure on NHS services at a time when NHS doctor and dental appointments are at a premium for many.

One patient, who declined to be named, said: “At a time of the cost-of-living crisis, this is quite literally a kick in the teeth.”

The patient also questioned the healthcare provision for the number of houses planned in Hucknall.

They said: “Who will provide NHS doctors and dental care for all these extra people in the next few years when people are struggling now to get doctors and dentist appointments?”

However, there has been no confirmation at this stage that the centre will be offering dentistry as part of its output.

Lee Waters, Ashfield Independents member for Hucknall North, said: “This is exactly why we are prioritising talks about bringing NHS dentists to the new super health centre on West Street.

“The Conservatives promised to increase NHS dentists in 2019, which has been exposed as another broken promise.”

He said Mark Spencer, Conservative MP for Sherwood, which includes Hucknall, “really has questions to answer on this as this news exacerbates an already serious problem”.

Coun Dave Shaw, fellow Ashfield Independents member for Hucknall North, said: “It’s nothing more than cutbacks and a march towards full privatisation of the NHS.

“Mr Spencer and the Government need to be brought to account about the lack of dental services in Hucknall and more support for our beloved NHS.”

Mr Spencer replied: “First of all, perhaps the Ashfield Independents should concentrate on getting their own house in order before trying to throw mud at others.

“It is disappointing that the BUPA practice has decided to no longer take NHS patients and I urge them to rethink this decision.

“The Government announced in January more than £9 million of funding in the midlands alone for more NHS dentist appointments with incentives for dentists to take on more patients and I truly hope our many dentists in the area can review their operation and look to take on more patients

“If you are looking for an NHS dentist and can’t secure an appointment please ring the NHS on 0330 3112233.”

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