Published: 14:23, 01 December 2017
Thousands of patients using one NHS dental practice will soon have to look for another dentist as it has been announced it is to close.
Church Hill Dental Practice in Ramsgate will shut next March, as a five-year contract which commissions Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust to provide care at the practice will not be renewed.
Its sister practice in Sandwich will remain open.
An NHS England south east spokesperson said: "The provider of services at Church Hill Dental Practice in Ramsgate has informed us that they are not in a position to provide general dental services at the surgery after March 31 2018.
“We will be working with other dental practices with a view to increasing their capacity to care for local patients, while we are in the process of assessing the longer term dental needs of people in east Kent, in order to inform the longer term development of services.
“New Street Dental Practice in Sandwich, which is run by the same provider, will be continuing to provide NHS dental services.”
Dental services clinical director for east Kent Michelle Forbes confirmed the practice will remain open until the end of the contract in March.
“We are working with NHS England to make sure patients have alternative local provision," she added.
"We will, of course, continue to provide safe and effective care for all patients using our service at Church Hill dental practice until the end of March.
“We are a large dental organisation and we will do our very best to redeploy our colleagues who work at the practice.’’
"It is such a shame as it is a good dentist and I have been using it for about five years since I moved to the area..." -patient Clive Martin
The news has sparked anger from patients who use the practice, with one patient, Clive Martin, saying it is "a kick in the teeth for the people in Thanet".
He said: "Thanet is the most deprived area in Kent, and is one of the most deprived areas in the whole country.
"This is just another example of how they don't take that into consideration when making these decisions.
"It is said to be shutting at the start of April next year so they have been told not to take on any more patients, even though they had been up until now.
"I only found out as I went to the dentist this morning, and they were handing slips out to patients.
"It is such a shame as it is a good dentist and I have been using it for about five years since I moved to the area.
"The onus is now on us, the patients, to find another dentist to go to, which is hard in Thanet as there are not many NHS ones.
"It is a kick in the teeth for the people in Thanet once again.
"Staff have only got a few months to find a new job as well."
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