A NHS dental practice in Omagh is facing closure as part of a move by the private healthcare provider, BUPA.
The practice on Campsie Road in the town caters for scores of patients. It is one of two – the other being in Downpatrick – which is to shut.
BUPA, which provides both NHS and private dental care, said its practices would be closed, sold or merged later this year.
It added that patients at the affected practice in Omagh would still be able to access the NHS dental service that they need, but that the move will affect both employed and self-employed staff.
Affected staff will be re-deployed where possible, but BUPA says that it has not been able to recruit enough dentists to deliver NHS care.
“As a leading dental provider in the UK, our priority must be to enable patients to receive the care that they need,” said Mark Allan, general manager of BUPA Dental Care.
“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.”
In 2020 as the pandemic caused severe disruption to many businesses, including dental practices, BUPA Dental Care in Omagh charged each private patient a ‘safety tariff’ of £40 to cover the additional costs of purchasing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
They said at that time that they had introduced this tariff for ‘complete transparency’ and added that the costs of providing PPE at that time were under constant review.
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