Our news story continued…
Bupa Dental Care has taken the difficult decision to close, merge or sell 85 dental practices in the UK. This is due to a lack of dentists to deliver NHS care in the UK, in addition to increased running costs caused by inflation and high energy prices.
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 COVID-19 pandemic.
These factors mean patients at these practices have not been able to access the NHS dental services they need.
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.”
The focus is for patients to receive the NHS care they need and deserve, and Bupa will provide resources to help patients find alternative local providers. For practices that are due to close, Bupa will be handing back the dental contract to the NHS, which will allow commissioners to procure a new provider, thereby providing patients with a better opportunity to continue access to NHS dental services.
Bupa will also fully support its people through this change, redeploying affected colleagues where possible to continue their careers with Bupa.
“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.”
Bupa remains fully committed to the UK dental market and provision of NHS services, and all its dental practices across the UK and Ireland are open as usual. 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 and expect to complete the process later in the year.
For further information, visit our FAQs on Bupa Dental Care changes.