Dentists across South Yorkshire 'weeks from collapse' because of coroanavirus lockdown

Dentists across South Yorkshire and the Midlands are just weeks from collapse because of the coronavirus lockdown, the industry’s governing body has warned.

Monday, 13th April 2020, 3:00 pm
Updated Monday, 13th April 2020, 3:02 pm

Large parts of the region’s dental service are at risk of imminent collapse without urgent steps to support small business says the British Dental Association, with a poll suggesting over 70% of practices in the region reporting that they can only maintain financial viability for a maximum of three months.

With all routine care now suspended, 71% of practices report they can only remain financially sustainable for 3 months or less. Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) estimate they can only survive the month.

Less than a third (28%) estimate they will be placed to restore pre-pandemic levels of patient access.

Dentists are struggling because of the coronavirus lockdown.

1 in 5 of practices have already attempted to secure a government backed interruption loan, but 92% of applicants were unable to secure credit. 47% of those who failed have already had to seek commercial loans to stay afloat, at reported rates of interest of over 20%.

The vast majority of UK practices are mixed, delivering both NHS and private care in varying proportions. Practices in the region performing a greater share of private work appear most exposed, with 73% of those with low or no NHS commitment (0-25% NHS) stating they will face imminent difficulties in the next three months, falling to 61% among those with the highest NHS commitments (75% or more of NHS activity).

While the NHS side of practices have been offered some support by government, the BDA has warned that if those practices with a greater reliance on private work go under whatever service remains will be unable to meet patient demand.

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: “Practices are now weeks from a cliff edge, saddling themselves with debt they may never be able to repay.

“It was right to suspend all non-urgent care, but without meaningful support the region’s dental services face decimation, and no practice can be excluded.

“Dentistry cannot weather this storm when nearly every surgery relies on private care to stay afloat. If officials let these vital services go to wall the impact will be felt by patients in every community in the region.”