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What exactly is the problem?

PUBLISHED: 10:27 30 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:59 06 July 2010

ISN'T it ironic that the best dental practice in the region is under threat from the second worst performing primary care trust in the country (according to the Health Commission's findings in October 2008).

ISN'T it ironic that the best dental practice in the region is under threat from the second worst performing primary care trust in the country (according to the Health Commission's findings in October 2008).

Without doubt Dr Johnson and his colleagues provide excellent dental services to their thousands of patients, why else would they have more than 18,000 registered with them?

Hopefully they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. There are no “quality of care reasons” which the PCT can use as an excuse for awarding the contract to another provider.

So has the practice achieved its excellent results at a high cost to the PCT and the tax payer? Apparently not, it appears that their current contract per unit of dental activity is well below average cost for the area. As a result the PCT and the patients are getting an excellent service and extremely good value for money.

Are there any problems with the recruitment and retention of staff at the practice? Again the opposite is the case. The practice has a large number of long service, well trained, exceptional staff who provide a stable environment where patients feel they are welcomed, known and their needs understood.

In stark contrast, Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT have a record of senior staff and non executive director turnover, evidenced by the “standing down” in April 2009, only two years after his appointment, of the chief executive, Mike Stonard, who on his departure was praised by the PCT chairman, David Edwards, for his great integrity and thanked for his achievements.

Allegedly it was Mr Stonard who informed Dr Johnson that his retirement at age 70 was mandatory, (which apparently the PCT now deny) resulting in the current situation.

Who can we believe? Dr. Johnson, a caring professional who has been running his practice for more than 30 years, of impeachable character and loyal to the local community, or the PCT?

When Mr Stonard “stepped down” the PCT proudly announced the interim part-time appointment of Dr Zollinger-Read, who already had two jobs. As well as being a practicing GP he is the current chief executive of the North East Essex PCT. What does this say about the PCT's view of the role and workload of the chief executive?

What is the real motivation of the PCT and why, contrary to the government policy of encouraging people to work as long as they can, are they effectively trying to force Dr Johnson to retire and his colleagues to become unemployed.

Are there other issues motivating the conduct of the PCT to the exclusion of the only important one, which is of course the provision of a first class dental service to the people of Waveney, encapsulated in the performance of Dr Johnson and his colleagues?

N SALMON

Weston

Beccles

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