Health Secretary called upon to keep Ripon dental practice open
Apr 25, 2023
Bupa dental practice Finkle Street Ripon

Ripon City Council is seeking government intervention to stop the closure of Bupa’s Finkle Street dental practice.

At last night’s full council meeting, councillors voted unanimously to write to Health Secretary Steve Barclay amid concerns the planned closure of the practice will further reduce access to treatment for NHS patients in the city.

Bupa’s Finkle Street branch which has NHS and private patients on its books, plans to shut its doors on June 30, with the national company citing a lack of dentists to provide care.

Its Clock Tower practice in North Parade is unaffected, as are Harrogate’s Raglan Suite and Bupa Dental Care in East Parade – but none of these is accepting new adult NHS patients.

Cllr Peter Horton said:

“There are masses of people in Ripon in need of NHS dental care, but they now have to travel to places as far away as Guiseley and York to receive treatment from Bupa.

“This is completely unacceptable and we need to state in the strongest terms that we want the Finkle Street practice to stay open.”

Cllr Pauline McHardy said:

“No practices in Ripon are taking NHS patients and the situation is getting worse with more dentists going private.

“The government has overall responsibility for NHS dental services and they need to sort this out.”

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In addition to writing to the Secretary of State for Health, the council is also calling on Ripon Conservative MP Julian Smith and North Yorkshire Council’s Skipton and Ripon area constituency committee to support its bid to keep the Finkle Street branch open.

Independent city council leader Andrew Williams said:

“This is a very serious issue, not just here but across the country with an estimated 11 million people having no dentist.”

The Finkle Street branch is one of 85 across the country being closed, sold or merged over the coming months. As well as problems with recruiting, Bupa said rising costs influenced its decision.

Last month, at the time of announcing the closures Bupa Dental Care general manager Mark Allen 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.”

Bupa said it will hand back its dental contract in Ripon to the NHS, allowing commissioners to find a new provider for NHS dental services.