NHS work-quota for dentists4th June 2007
A campaign group has called for NHS dentists to be given quotas to ensure they provide NHS services instead of private treatments.
Patient Concern stated that the measures should be enforced following statistics revealing that less than half of NHS dentists' salary comes from the provision of NHS services.
Data from the NHS Information Centre reveals that NHS dentists are paid, on average, around 52% of their salary from private patients. The information shows a rise from 42% in 1999-2000 and is the first time the proportion has been biased in favour of private work.
Information from the General Dental Council register suggests that since 2005, the number of dentists providing only private treatments has risen by more than one third.
Currently, 21,111 dentists have NHS contracts, leaving 2m people without access to NHS care.
Joyce Robins, co-director of Patient Concern, suggested that quotas could be given to newly-qualified dentists, before allowing them to opt out after several years.
She commented: "I don't see why we can't impose quotas on dentists who work in the health service to ensure they do more NHS work."
Lester Ellman, of the British Dental Association, criticised the idea as "unfair and unworkable".
"The reason dentists are turning towards private work is that they have been unhappy with the way the NHS [system] has worked for years."
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