NHS dentistry is ‘failing patients’ who are most in need

NHS dentistry

New survey from the BDA shows the government is standing in the way of treating patients most in need

The British Dental Association (BDA) has revealed that the NHS dentistry payment system is failing patients most in need.

A new survey from the BDA has been released exactly 10 years after the current NHS contract was introduced.

Findings from the BDA’s survey show that:

  • 93% of dentists report that chasing government targets is limiting their ability to care for high-needs patients who require complex or repeat treatment
  • 83% say the system is holding them back from preventive work
  • Nearly 70% state that the contract is now limiting their ability to take on NHS patients
  • Over 85% state it is restricting the time they can spend with patients.

‘The survey shows that those in most need have become the least welcome in NHS dentistry, thanks to a system that puts government targets before patient care,’ Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said.

‘We are seeing the results of a conveyor belt model of provision that has left dentists without the time or the freedom to deliver the treatment their patients require.

‘NHS dentists are still being forced to chase targets for curative treatment, rather than provide vital preventive care.

‘This topsy-turvy system means dentists are paid the same for doing one filling or 14, and are routinely subsidising care for high-needs patients out of their own pockets.

‘We receive financial penalties when we don’t hit targets, receive no compensation when we exceed them, and have no scope to take on new NHS patients, even when we have capacity.

‘This lost decade of chaos, shortage and compromise has failed patients and practitioners.

‘Sadly the government has yet to show it’s willing to let go of these senseless targets.

‘A watered down version of this failed contract isn’t progress.

‘We call on ministers to live up to their rhetoric and put prevention first.’


  1. 1

    Yes, it’s pants, isn’t it. All predictable a decade ago. Very happy I decided not to partake of the poisoned chalice in 2006. 10 years not in the NHS! Yippee!

  2. 2

    As a hygienist who ‘learnèd’ to do non surgical Perio treatments on the NHS I am working 100% privately. Not by choice but because I can’t ‘hold a Perio contract despite 45yrs+ With specialists in the field and a masters (MPhil) in Perio. I can’t even ‘open a course’ for a NHS 3/12 maintenance so the dentist has to see the patient and then pay to see me. Prevention needs repeat advice and follow-up so forget that too, patients do!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Might Also Like