Health bosses are set to close Mexborough’s dental access surgery and move half of it to Doncaster...to benefit the residents of Thorne!
The Times can exclusively reveal plans are now well underway to axe the pioneering £3m Dearne Valley Dental Access Centre at the Montagu Hospital – just SEVEN years after it was built.
NHS Doncaster now want to relocate the service to the Mexborough Health Centre on Adwick Road, and a new “super-surgery” currently being built in Doncaster.
The Primary Care Trust (PCT) claims the move will not remove dental services from Mexborough, but will benefit patients from the far side of the Doncaster borough.
The Trust also said Montagu Hospital bosses want to use the dental space to expand their “pain management” clinic.
The purpose-built Dental Access Centre was opened in 2004 by the Duchess of Gloucester. Ironically, it was part paid for with £1.4m from Mexborough’s Fred and Ann Green Legacy fund, plus a further £1.6m from the Government.
Housed under the same roof as the Montagu Hospital’s Oral and Maxillo-facial Surgery Department, it was thought to be the first complete dental unit of its kind in the country.
An NHS Doncaster spokesman told the Times: “The move is good news for people from Thorne, who currently have a 30-mile trip to access the dental service. Having the facility in Doncaster will make it easier for them.
“Everything that’s available now in Mexborough will still be available, but it will also be available in Doncaster too.
“Instead of having a lot of dentists in one place, some of those dentists will now be in Doncaster.”
He added that Dearne Valley and Rotherham patients could still use the service, and the Oral and Maxillo-facial surgery department would not be affected.
But councillors are angry that the PCT has not consulted with them – or with residents – over the plans, which the PCT say are “ongoing”.
The scheme only came to light this week after Mexborough councillors questioned NHS Doncaster chairman Roger Greenwood about the current proposals to axe acute medicine from the Montagu and downgrade the hospital to rehab unit status.
Coun Sue Phillips said: “We only know about it because Councillor Jill Arkley-Jevons casually asked Mr Greenwood about dental services at the end of a meeting. It has never appeared in the plans before. If Jill had not done that, we would still be none the wiser.
“The PCT certainly did not come forward with this information, on which we should have been consulted. It all seems to have been done very sneakily and through the back door.
“Futhermore, the Dearne Valley Dental Access Centre was built for the Dearne and all its residents. What about them?
“And they can forget the plan to move into the Health Centre. There’s no room in there, it’s old, and it’s falling down.
Coun David Holland also condemned the plans, saying: “This is yet another case of Mexborough services going to Doncaster, and everything that we have here being shifted away. It’s appalling.
“I don’t know why the PCT haven’t mentioned it before, because it’s never appeared on any previous plans, but it’s almost certainly going ahead.”
But the PCT said it did not need to consult over the plans, because they do not involve a “major change”.
The NHS Doncaster spokesman added: “We are widening the service. We are not scrapping it. We are just making it more equitable.”
Meanwhile the consultation over the future of acute services at the Montagu, which was due to start this week, has been postponed.
The spokesman added: “It’s just a short postponement while we make some final touches to it.”