Brighton dental practice owner fears financial ruin

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The owner of a dental practice in Brighton has spoken about her fears of going bust amid the ongoing Coronavirus crisis.

Christina Chatfield, a dental hygienist and owner of the Dental Health Spa in Queen’s Road, said that she is extremely worried about the future of the business, with debts mounting up and no support for private practice owners. Ms Chatfield said that there are multiple challenges, with one of the most significant barriers the cost of PPE. At the beginning of the outbreak, Christina generously donated any PPE stores she had to a local GP surgery and hospice, and the cost of replacing equipment has spiralled amid soaring global demand. Christina recently spend almost £2,000 on an order of face masks, which would have cost just £200 in January.

Another obstacle facing dental practices is limited patient numbers. Clinics are restricting the number of appointments to maintain social distancing, and there is also a concern that many patients will be reluctant to visit their dentist at the moment.

Christina spoke candidly about the situation she is facing, having amassed around £100,000 in debt during the crisis. Practices have had no income for months, and many are providing a skeleton service if and when they are able to reopen.

Ms Chatfield has urged the government to support dental practices, claiming that they seem to have slipped through the cracks and not received the level of assistance given to other healthcare businesses. 

According to the British Dental Association, the cost of PPE required to complete a course of treatment has increased by 6,000% since the start of the lockdown.

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