Southampton: Acquisition saves dental practices from closure

South Cliff Dental Group has acquired three dental practices in Steyning, West Sussex, and Southampton, setting out a £500,000 investment plan to revive the businesses.

Dale Road, Portland Street and Steyning Dental Care were all set to close, leaving almost 15,000 people without an NHS dentist and 30 clinicians and support staff jobless. But the successful buyout means that they will stay open.

The three practices were left under threat after a previous deal between NHS England and Swiss-owned dentistry chain Colosseum fell through.

The South Cliff Dental Group acquisition team was led by CEO Dr Ashkan Pitchforth and corporate legal advisers from commercial law firm Brabners.

As part of the deal, South Cliff Dental Group has pledged to spend £500,000 over the next three years to revitalise and modernise the practices.

Nicola Lomas, legal director at Brabners and lead adviser on the deal, said: “Ultimately, thousands of people would have been left without a dentist had this deal not completed and I’m immensely proud of the work that’s been done to ensure these vital services continue to be delivered.

“NHS organisations are under pressure to deliver more care on a decreasing budget and the lifeline that a business like South Cliff offers them is often vital to their survival.”

Dr Ashkan Pitchforth said: “This was an incredibly complex process involving significant restructuring of all three practices and could not have happened without the expert support of Nicola and her team.

“Our focus now is making these three practices more than just fit for purpose. Our mission is to create flagship practices across the South that offer top-of-the-line care for many years to come.”

South Cliff Dental Group, founded by Pitchforth and business partner Dr Manar El-Alami, operates a number of dental practices across Sussex, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

Law firm Brabners employs around 400 people. Its corporate team consists of 40 legal practitioners and advises clients across a number of core sectors including healthcare, real estate and retail.