Poor pay uplift will impact on care
The Scottish government’s decision to disregard the recommendation of an independent review body and instead impose a lower-than-advised funding uplift for NHS dental services could be detrimental to care and bring into question the viability of some advanced treatments, the British Dental Association (BDA) is warning.
An uplift of 2.51% on treatment fees, which has been accepted by dentists’ leaders after lengthy talks as the best possible given the economic pressures confronting public finances, falls significantly short of that recommended by the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body.
The BDA is concerned that, as a result of the uplift, many dentists will have to re-evaluate plans to invest in their practices and the staff needed to provide care.
This is the first funding increase since April 2010 and follows years of financial pressure on dental practices as a result of increased regulation and staffing costs and the rising prices of materials and equipment.
Dr Robert Donald, the chair of the BDA’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said: 'The funding freeze of recent years has meant dental practices stretching their resources to breaking point in order to be able to continue caring for their patients. This uplift will not alleviate the challenge they are facing.
'While we understand the acute fiscal pressures facing government, it must, in turn, understand that there are costs to providing the service patients need. It is particularly disappointing that its decision disregards the recommendation of the independent body tasked with assessing the situation.
'Government must start thinking now about how it can help dentists meet those pressures and work with the profession to produce a fair deal for dental patients in 2014.'
The BDA has written to all GDPs members in Scotland to provide details of the deal.