Sunderland dental surgery set to close because it can’t keep hold of dentists

Patients from the surgery will have to go elsewhere.
Patients from the surgery will have to go elsewhere.
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A Sunderland dental surgery is set to close - because its dentists keep leaving for bigger practices.

Services at Westmount Dental Surgery, in Blind Lane, Silksworth, are due to move to the practice’s main base in High Barnes after bosses said the location was not sustainable.

Members of Sunderland City Council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee heard from practice principal Dr Ash Quraishi about the plans.

He told the panel: “[Since taking over the practice in 2010] two things we’ve had problems with is recruiting dentists to work in that practice and then keeping them there.”

He also claimed the NHS contract for the Silksworth surgery was only enough to sustain ‘one and a half dentists’, and that over eight years he had seen more than 10 recruits leave for bigger practices.

Most of the 2,900 patients are expected to be taken on by the High Barnes surgery, although this has prompted some concerns about transport.

Coun Barbara McClennan asked if the surgery could be kept open for specialist procedures or use by a dental hygienist.

But Dr Quraishi said having a full team on site was the best option, for patient safety as well as convenience.

He said: “People want to come and see their dentist and hygienist on the same day.

“People don’t like coming to the dentist, once is enough for most, so if they can come in and check all the boxes in one trip that works for them.

“I don’t have a problem growing patient numbers, my issue is I don’t have enough dentists.”

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service