Father 'shocked' as Bosham Dental Clinic becomes private

A dad has told of his shock after being told he and his children can no longer visit his dentist on the NHS.

Father-of-two Jamie Stevenson took his sons, aged 9 and 13, for their biannual check-up at Bosham Clinic Dental only to be told he would not be able to use the service on the NHS from February.

Now Mr Stevenson, who lives in Hambrook, has said he will not be able to afford to go private and despite calling about 16 other local clinics, is now facing having to rely on emergency treatment at St Richard's Hospital if necessary.

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He said: "I took my sons in a couple of weeks ago just to have a check up and they said 'we are not accepting any NHS patients from February' and said they will try to keep the costs as reasonable as possible.

Dentistry stock image

"It was a shock.

"For now I am just thankful the kids have got another five months or so until their next check-up."

Bosham Dental Clinic published a statement on its website last month which read: "It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that The Bosham Clinic Dental has notified the NHS of three months notice terminating our NHS contract.

"This means that as from Monday March 1 2022 we will no longer be able to see patients on the NHS and we will be moving over to becoming an independently run private practice."

Bosham Dental Clinic. Picture via Google Streetview

Mr Stevenson added: "I am not going to be able to afford private dental care. I am effectively a single dad and I pay for the mortgage for my house and pay for food and the costs of having children and I just don't have the money to go private.

"I am lucky to have a full time job but I just feel sorry for others who don't or may be isolated.

"I can understand that along with other elements of the NHS there is a shortage of dentists but I think the funding to dentistry seems to have been really badly affected and it seems to be turning dentists out of the system.

"It's incredibly sad. I think we could face a serious problem in the future with children and adults teeth."

But he isn't the only person facing issues with NHS dentistry and, as this newspaper reported last week, clinics up and down the country are facing a shortage of dentists.

More than 55,000 NHS appointments have been lost in Chichester since lockdown according to data from the British Dental Association (BDA), including more than 15,000 for children.

BDA chair Eddie Crouch said: "The UK is meant to have a universal healthcare system, but with NHS dentistry nothing could be further from the truth.

"Patients faced a postcode lottery of care long before COVID struck, and now their options are few and far between.

"Official indifference has left families facing yearlong waiting times, and practices hemorrhaging staff. It's high time ministers applied their Build Back Better mantra to a service millions depend on."

For the West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) numbers rose from 565 in 2017 to 595 in 2018 but have have since been on the downturn with 593 in 2019, 547 in 2020 and 527 in 2021.

The area has lost 38 dentists in the past five years.

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