A DENTAL practice has claimed NHS red-tape is preventing patients from receiving treatment amid closures.

With the imminent closure of two My Dentist practices in Richmond and Catterick, hundreds of residents have been left trying to find alternative NHS dental treatment.

CTL Dental in Richmond said they contacted commissioners at the end of January to offer provision of NHS services for the town.

However, they claim commissioners said they would “only consider providers who already held an NHS contract”.

This was the third time in the four-and-a-half years CTL Dental has offered to cover shortages in the area.

A spokesperson for the practice said: “It seems the commissioners are only willing to deal with existing contract holders. These organisations often have a high turnover of dentists, losing any trust built up in a long-lasting relationship with your healthcare provider.

“Let’s hope the commissioners can follow through on their promise and get the access issue addressed in the area.”

An NHS England spokesperson said they approached existing providers to cover immediate shortages for an interim period until the current NHS contract ends.

The work will be re-assigned next year, and CTL will be able to bid for it along with the other practices.

He added: “In situations such as these the funds regained from the contracts handed back are re-invested in the area affected.

“We have put in place a temporary solution to ensure patients from the Catterick and Richmond practices can continue to access NHS dental care and treatment nearby.

“A number of practices expressed an interest in receiving funding to treat patients affected by the closures.”

When the news was announced, many feared they would have to travel as far as Darlington or Teesside.

However, Richmond MP Rishi Sunak held talks with NHS England dentistry chiefs last week.

He is arguing that with the Garrison growing there will be a need for expanded NHS provision.

Alpha Dental Studio in Catterick has already announced it is able to take new NHS patients on a waiting list.

The company aim to employ an extra dentist in their Northallerton and Catterick practices from April to meet the growing demand.

It is understood the My Dentist branches are forced to close on April 1 due to a problem recruiting and retaining dentists.