Dentists unanimously call for a minimum UDA value of £25 at the Local Dental Committees’ (LDC) annual conference.

Welsh colleagues in the contract reform pilots are already receiving this rate and their counterparts in England were seeking parity.

The slow pace of contract reform was also mentioned at the conference.

‘NHS dentists will always do what’s necessary to provide safe care for their patients,’ a BDA spokesperson told Dentistry.co.uk.

‘But with UDA rates lower than £25, it’s hard to see how providers can achieve this, without paying for it out of their own pockets.’

Hike in dental charges

Concerns over the escalation of dental charges in England, relative to Wales, were raised at the conference too.

Delegates voiced their worries that these charges were being used to mask cuts in state funding.

There was unanimous support calling on the National Audit Office to investigate the disproportionate rise in charges in England.

‘Dental charges remain an important contribution to the overall cost of the NHS budget,’ Steve Brine, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care, said earlier this year when they were raised.

‘We have taken the decision to uplift dental charges for those who can afford it, through a 5% increase this year.

‘This means the dental charge payable for a band one course of treatment will rise by £1.10 in 2019-20, from £21.60 to £22.70.

‘The dental charge for a band two course of treatment will increase by £3.00 in 2019-20, from £59.10 to £62.10.

‘The charge for a band three course of treatment will increase by £12.80 in 2019-20, from £256.50 to £269.30.’

Mental health support

A lack of support for dentists experiencing stress was also raised at the LDC conference.

Delegates voted unanimously for greater mental health support for dentists to be made available now.

A recent Dental Protection survey shows 77% of dental professionals fear being sued, causing stress and anxiety.

‘Stress can impact on a dentist’s health and practice in a number of ways,’ Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection, says.

‘It can affect confidence, clinical judgement, morale and even lead to performance issues.

‘Research confirms that high stress levels affect performance and increase the potential for adverse outcomes of error.

‘These may in turn spark patient complaints and claims and a self-perpetuating vicious circle is established.

‘Sustained periods of stress with poor coping strategies can lead to burnout.’


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