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‘Lessons must be learned’ says city MP over Portsmouth dental practice closures

Stephen Morgan MP calls NHS England bosses to Parliament to share concerns over local practice closures and dental crisis in Portsmouth

Following the news that three dental practices in Portsmouth (Portsea, Southsea and Paulsgrove) will be closing their doors next month, Stephen Morgan MP hosted a summit with NHS England to get to the bottom of the problem. The action follows writing to both the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and NHS England’s Chief Executive about the crisis in dental services for Portsmouth people.

The meeting, attended by the Regional Director of NHS England and dental commissioner, sought to understand the reasons for the closures, raise concerns over how services are set up and seek assurances that no patient in Portsmouth will lose out on vital treatment. The MP also probed about replacement services and when these will be provided in the city.

Following the urgent summit Mr Morgan said:

“The conversations with NHS England are about two things. Ensuring Portsmouth people affected by these failures are not left without access to oral healthcare and identifying the structural shortcomings in NHS Dentistry that allowed this to take place.

NHS England have provided assurances that patients currently receiving treatment or have work that remains outstanding, will finish their treatment.

I will be continuing discussions with the representatives who attended the summit to ensure that this is the case and to relay thoughts and concerns of constituents who continue to be affected.”

Another concern at the summit was the lack of communication with the community and key stakeholders. On this, the Portsmouth MP said:

“With not one, not two, but three practices closing, I shared concerns that Portsmouth people shouldn’t have heard about the company pulling out of our city via the media.

NHS England were made aware of these closures in April, I was regrettably not informed until June and therefore much time was wasted to support our community.

Lessons must be learned from our experience in Portsmouth. I am assured NHS England now recognise this. They cannot allow this to happen again and it is important they continue to be held to account for this.

I will continue to take action in Parliament to protect dental services in our city and stand up for residents affected. We must see improvements for patients in the future so I will be keeping a close eye on developments”.

The Portsmouth MP has written about the important matter to the Department of Health and Social Care, raised concerns in the House of Commons, as well as tabled a series of questions to Ministers. It is hoped a Westminster Hall debate will be secured to discuss the future of dentistry in Portsmouth.

The MP has also arranged meetings with Healthwatch representatives and the British Dental Association.