830,000 off dentists' NHS lists

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Indy Politics
The dramatic erosion of National Health Service dentistry was highlighted yesterday when it was revealed that 830,000 NHS patients have been taken off dentists' lists since 1992. The figures were given in answer to Alex Carlile MP, health spokeman for the Liberal Democrats, writes John Rentoul.

The fees paid to dentists for NHS work were reduced in 1992, and many now refuse to take on new NHS patients. Yesterday's figures show the extent to which dentists are taking existing patients off their lists. "Dentists are telling their patients to go private or go elsewhere," said Mr Carlile.

The figures cover those patients who have been "deregistered by dentists because of their dissatisfaction with the remuneration system" between July 1992 and February 1995, and do not count the normal movement of people between dentists' lists.

Mr Carlile said: "If people cannot afford to go private, they are most likely not being treated at all. Certainly hundreds of thousands of people are going without treatment."

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