THE co-owner of an Oswestry dentist which will start winding down its role with the NHS next month says it is the only way it can run as a business.

Helen Griffiths runs Oswyn House Dental Practice, in Oswald Road, with husband Anthony and last week informed patients that it would no longer take on new NHS from October 31.

The pair have been in charge at the practice for 24 years and say that as it is ‘only just breaking even’, the move to private was a logical one.

And she added that maintaining an NHS list in a rural area such as north Shropshire made it ‘near impossible’ to recruit without going private.

“It’s an element of ‘if you can’t beat them, then join them’ because otherwise the practice wouldn’t be here,” she said.

“We’re probably just about breaking even and we can’t sustain that, but it’s not just about the money but that dentists are on their knees with the workload.


“They don’t have holidays, to speak of, and they’re upping their hours working flat-out and we all feel like we’re firefighting.

“We don’t feel like we’re offering the service we want to provide – in an ideal world we want to be offering all NHS.

“But that just isn’t sustainable anymore.

“For recruitment, without getting into the politics of it, there are a multitude of factors.

“Brexit has been an element of it because new dentists haven’t been able to join the General Dental Council (GDC) register.

“But there’s also a shortage of dentists full stop, not just NHS, and also there are more women qualifying and they are more likely to take maternity leave, and more men are taking career breaks.

“There’s more people taking care of their work/life balance as well.”

Helen praised her staff for coping with the workload and the upcoming changes, with a large uptake on the membership plan announced last week.

She said that by recruiting for private alone, vacancies have been filled far easier and could allow them to expand.

And she believes the only way that NHS lists can survive in dentistry is ‘throw a big pile of money at it’ but remained sceptical.

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She added: “I’m always hopeful that something will happen for the NHS but I see what the funding is like and that we’re a growing population with more diseases to treat that are expensive.

“There’s so much more we can do than 50 years ago but it’s going to be difficult to resolve that without throwing unlimited amounts of cash at it.

“But I understand there are other draws on the public finances.”