Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Visiting a Dentist Shouldn't Be A Pain

Trying to find an NHS dentist is only the start of the problem. You are then left with a huge bill for anything other than routine treatment. Now people are being forced to resort to the 'old method'. Just pull them out.

Going to the dentist is fine if you can afford private dental insurance or if you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland. But in England, the idea of a 'free' NHS doesn't seem to apply to dentistry. 

The new dentist contract, introduced in England in 2006, under which you pay a fixed charge for particular types of treatment, was supposed to simplify charges and make it easier to find an NHS dentist.

The result was huge queues as people desperately tried to find a dentist to take them on. 

A report by MPs says access remained "patchy" and there had been a sharp fall in the number of complex procedures.

Interestingly, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, not covered by the changes, the number of complex treatments have risen.

The number of patients seen in England fell by 900,000 in the 18 months after the new contract was introduced.

In the first year alone, the number of complex treatments which attract higher fees under the new scheme was halved, and the number of root canal treatments fell by 45%. But the number of tooth extractions rose.

The British Dental Association, described it as a "damning report" which "highlights the failure of a farcical contract that has alienated the profession and caused uncertainty to patients." 

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