NHS dentistry ‘at risk’, BDA warns government

The British Dental Association (BDA) will warn the government this week that the future of NHS dentistry is ‘at risk’ unless ministers scrap the current NHS contracts.

Representatives of the BDA have already outlined how the contract changes have seen more than 1000 dentists leave the health service.

A further exodus will threaten to bring about the end of NHS dentistry, they warn.

The BDA is giving oral evidence on Thursday to MPs at a meeting of the select health committee enquiry into dental services.

In written evidence already submitted to the committee, the BDA claimed ‘the new contract has both failed to free dentists from the workload ‘treadmill’ and to allow time to provide the preventive care that is essential to reduce the oral health inequalities which still exist across the country.’

Dentists say the system is patently unfair and does not properly measure the amount of work carried out and cite the example of receiving the same fee for giving a patient one filling as for giving them five fillings.

The BDA also complain that the patients’ quality of experience is now ‘threatened by the time pressures on dentists generated by the new target-driven system’.

The future of NHS dentistry is ‘at risk’, the BDA says in written evidence to the committee, because ‘dentists are facing financial penalties derived from untested targets’.

• Also giving evidence to the enquiry this week are: the Devon Primary Care Trust, Hillingdon Primary Care Trust and Sandwell Primary Care Trust, and the British Orthodontic Society and the Dental Laboratories Association.

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