Cornish Dentist Accuses PCT Of Blocking Efforts To Re-Open NHS Surgery

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A dentist from Constantine in Cornwall has accused the local Primary Care Trust of blocking his efforts to re-open an NHS dental surgery.

The Constantine practice closed to NHS patients in July as it went into receivership and the former dentist, Dr Behnedjad, resigned the NHS contract. Now, a new partner, Dr Tim Zorab, has taken over and asked for the NHS patient list; however, the PCT refused to transfer the contract due to national regulations, which prevent contracts from being transferred between different providers.

Dr Zorab, who kept the practice until he sold it to Dr Behnedjad in 2006, said that he had no problems transferring the contract and accused the PCT of wanting to “wash their hands of the practice.”

The owner of the building, Geoffrey Trebilcock, said that the PCT is forcing everyone in the village to travel for dental care when it could be provided on their doorstep. The practice was established 30 years ago and the owner and Dr Zorab are eager to continue to the tradition of providing dental care in Constantine.

The parish council and local Cornwall councillor, Neil Hatton, have written to the PCT to appeal for reconsideration of the situation. The PCT has also been criticised for saying that the surgery was closed; this is not true and Dr Zorab is still treating private patients.

In a statement, the PCT insisted that it was against national regulations to transfer a contract between providers and claimed that all patients had been contacted to make alternative arrangements for their care; places are currently available in a number of towns, including Falmouth, Redruth,Truroand Penryn. The statement also said that once a contract is resigned, the PCT has to go out to procurement, which takes time. The PCT will shortly be dissolved and members are working on a scheme to address any problems with provision of care.

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