Dentists want to curb NHS free provision: Professional body tells the Government most adults should pay full cost of treatment
The British Dental Association proposed scrapping the ceiling of 80 per cent, up to a maximum of pounds 250, on non-exempt patients' contributions to the cost of treatment. In evidence to the Government's review of the system for paying dentists, the association argued that, for most treatments, fees should be set by dentists according to what patients were willing to pay. Inspections, for which there has been a charge of between pounds 3 and pounds 11 for the past three years, would become free again. A free core service would also cover X-rays and emergency treatment. The current exemption for pregnant women would disappear.
The submission from the association, whose 18,500 members represent the vast majority of dentists, follows publication of a government-commissioned report in January by Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, former head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland. He set out a range of options for modernising the current, complex system. They included a purchaser-provider split, along the lines of the NHS hospital sector.
The association rejects the idea of an internal market on the grounds that it would bring too much expensive bureaucratic upheaval.
The review was established after the Government was forced to withdraw a proposed cut in the fees paid to dentists following strong opposition from the profession. The BDA says that its scheme would 'avoid a repetition of the current dispute by allowing Government expenditure to be better targeted and more stable'.
David Blunkett, Labour's health spokesman, welcomed the call for the re-introduction of free examinations. But he feared that restricting a free treatment service to the poor alone always ends up as a poor service.
He added: 'Under such proposals, many inner-city dentists would go out of business or move to more prosperous areas, leaving whole tracts of the country to a makeshift, stop-gap salaried dental service.'
John Hunt, chief executive of the BDA, said the proposals had been made 'somewhat reluctantly', as the profession remained committed to a comprehensive NHS service.
He accepted that some patients would have to pay more than pounds 250 per course of treatment under the BDA plan, and that dentists could charge whatever the market would bear. 'Only about two-thirds of children, and around 58 per cent of adults, go to a dentist regularly.
'To improve on those figure requires investment of more resources, which the Government appears unwilling to provide,' he said. 'In those circumstances, someone has to suggest where priorities should be set.'
The Department of Health is expected to announce its response to the review by the end of this month.
Leading article, page 19
- 1 National Orgasm Day: Six reasons (plus one bogus one) why they're good for us
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
- 4 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 5 Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston says why he left the BBC series after just one series
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Stuart Baggs dies: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...
£15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...
£60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...