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NHS dentistry faces shake-up

22nd June 2009

The government has accepted "in principle" the proposals of an independent review of health service dental treatment.


MPs said they would make reforms to the current NHS dental system following a critical response to the 2006 dental contract, which has seen smaller number of patients using the health service.

The report recommended that salary was determined by the size of patient lists, quality of care and the amount of treatment required.

The 2006 contract meant dentists providing NHS care gave patients a defined amount of courses of treatment. They were given the same amount to see fewer patients in a bid to stop the "drill-and-fill culture".

The government wanted NHS treatment to be more appealing to dentists, who are also able to make money by carrying out private treatment.

However figures showed that dentists saw one million less patients in the two years following the introduction of the contract than they saw in the two years before it was brought in.

The recommendations in the review, which was headed by Newcastle University expert Professor Jimmy Steele, will be trialled later in 2009.

Professor Steele said: "This review is a vision of a better deal for both patients and dentists. I think there is a will to change."

John Milne, of the British Dental Association, said the proposals gave the government the chance to make improvements to care.

But he added: "Clearly, the detail of how that approach will be delivered will be vital."

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Article Information

Title: NHS dentistry faces shake-up
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 11841
Date Added: 22nd Jun 2009


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