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'Set back' in Wales NHS dentistry

19th February 2008

Dentists in Wales have claimed that dentistry provided by the health service "is being set back 20 years", according to BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme.

Dentist Chair

They are blaming a contract introduced by the Welsh Assembly Government in April 2006.

The Assembly said that they had spent £30m on improving dentistry in 2006. The contract was designed to make certain that the population were able to find a NHS dentist to receive care.

The programme showed how Rhys Jones, who needed to have root canal treatment was told he would need to pay over £600 to have it fixed privately, when the same procedure cost £39 on the NHS.

He said: "I was told I had to go privately if I wanted to be sure of saving the tooth."

Under the terms of the new contract, dentist are paid in three bands. According to Peter Beynon, of the Dental Practitioners Association, they will receive the same amount to perform "one filling as 25 fillings." The old contract paid dentists for every procedure undertaken on an individual basis.

The new contract means that dentists are unwilling to take on more costly work because of the terms of the contract.

Howard Rose, a dental technician , said the work he did for the health service had fallen by half after the new contract was introduced.

"The contract's not working I believe as it ought to work. I believe it's failing a lot of NHS patients," he said.

 

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