Fears hundreds of NHS patients could have been left without dental treatment in the Horncastle area have been quashed after a successful buy-out by a husband and wife team.
Smitha Susan Mathew and Manu Cherian have taken over the former ‘My Dentist’ practice in the town’s High Street and staved off a potential crisis for patients.
The practice has almost 3,000 patients and a further 300 on a waiting list.
The patients are a ‘mix’ of private and NHS, including pensioners and children.
Mrs Mathew had worked four days a week at the practice since June 2017 but she and a part-time time employee were the only dentists.
She admits that led to problems with appointment availability.
Despite intensive efforts, Mrs Mathew says ‘My Dentist’ were unable to recruit any more dentists.
Because of the staffing issues, Mrs Mathew confirmed the practice was in danger of closing.
That would have left patients struggling to secure treatment, potentially having to complete a 50-mile round trip to Lincoln for an appointment.
Mrs Mathew and her husband completed the buy-out last week and have re-branded the business as Kordel House Dental Practice - describing it as a ‘new beginning.’
Her husband is working in the Lincoln area but will split his time between Lincoln and Horncastle.
Mrs Mathew will be working full-time at the Horncastle practice.
Mrs Mathew told the News: “We didn’t want the practice to close but there was a real risk of that happening.
“It was a month after I joined and the thought of all the changes involved with the practice closing down seemed unfair to the patients so I sat down with my husband.
“We wanted to do something so we decided to acquire the practice.
“We love the area and love the people.
“We started the process last September but it has only just been completed.
“We are very happy. We plan to offer a full range of services and a much quicker system for appointments.”
Mrs Mathew admitted she is not certain what patients would have done, if the practice closed.
She said: “As far as I am aware, all the other dentists in the area do not have any vacancies.
“The nearest (with vacancies) is perhaps Lincoln, I’m not sure.
“We must have between 5-10 people a day coming and asking if they can register but there is nothing we can do.
“Recruiting dentists is a problem nationally - not just in Lincolnshire.
“We have patients on our books who moved out of the area but they could not find a new practice so they have stayed with us.
“To be fair to ‘My Dentist,’ they tried everything (to recruit staff) but no-one would come.”
The couple will be retaining staff, many of who have worked at the practice for several years.
Mrs Mathew added: “We have a wonderful team and this is a new beginning for everyone.”
The couple stress they are unable to take any new NHS patients because of a lack of funding which they realise is unfair to people living in Horncastle.
However, they have developed an ‘in house’ dental plan to help residents get access to routine dental care by spreading their payments.
Mrs Mathew described it was ‘an affordable alternative solution to the NHS.’
Along with general dentistry, the couple are introducing advanced treatments including orthodontics, dental implants and smile makeovers.
They are also opening Horncastle’s first ‘anti-wrinkle’ clinic, run by Mrs Mathew who is a certified Dermal filler practitioner.
○Full details of the practice are available at www.kordelhousedentalpractice.co.uk or from email@example.com, or call 01507 211833.