Dentists still refuse NHS patients26th March 2007
A series of damning reports have shown that the government’s radical reforms to improve access to NHS dentistry are failing.
A year on from the changes, dentists and patients alike say they have failed to see any improvement.
The British Dental Association (BDA) surveyed almost 400 dentists and most thought access had not improved. In it’s report, Citizens Advice found huge inequity, with a quarter of dentists were taking no new patients, leaving an estimated 2m people forced to go private, join long waiting lists or go without dental care. A separate report from Which? found that two-thirds of dentists were turning patients away.
The changes introduced last April saw primary care trusts given £2.3bn, including money raised through fees, and responsibility for ensuring access, while new contracts gave dentists more time to spend with patients for preventative treatment.
But the reforms fell down as PCTs failed to make the expected revenue through charges, a view supported by Citizens Advice, whose report used evidence from government statistics, PCTs and 4,000 clients. It found that while some areas had NHS dentists fighting for patients, other areas had little access.
The BDA’s research found dentists were also unhappy with the current situation. Their poll found 85% of dentists believed the new contract had not improved access to NHS services.
Campaigners say dentists should be forced to take a certain number of NHS patients in order to be allowed to practice. The government said improvements were being made, and the number of dentists carrying out NHS work was growing.
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Title: Dentists still refuse NHS patients
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 2356
Date Added: 26th Mar 2007