Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Thousands Set to Lose Their NHS Dentist; Chaos over New Payment System

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Thousands Set to Lose Their NHS Dentist; Chaos over New Payment System

Article excerpt

Byline: GEORGINA LITTLEJOHN;REBECCA SMITH

THOUSANDS of Londoners could lose their NHS dentist under a new payments system.

An investigation by the Evening Standard has found that many dentists will not treat as many NHS patients because they say they will not be paid to do so under the new system, due to begin next month. In a snapshot survey, we found that already more than 8,000 patients face losing their regular NHS dentist and being forced to go private.

This number is likely to soar as the deadline for dentists to sign up to the new system approaches.

The Standard's findings include: . In one borough - Kingston - five dental practices are dropping all their NHS patients, affecting more than 6,500 people.

. Dentists in other boroughs are likely to follow suit as negotiationson the contract come to a close. The contracts are still under discussion in 16 boroughs, raising fears that NHS patients across London will be dropped.

Susie Sanderson of the British Dental Association said: "Our fear is that the new contract will do nothing to improve access to care for patients, or improve the nation's oral health, or raise the quality of patient care. The BDA has warned the Government that the transition is a shambles and asked for changes to address the situation but they have refused to tackle dentists' concerns."

The new system is intended to reform the way dentists are paid by putting an emphasis on "family dentistry".

Dentists have said it will have the opposite effect.

They must treat a whole family as NHS patients, or none, attacking the popular process by which they treat under-18s on the health service and offset the cost by treating parents privately.

As a result, they will drop NHS work. Funding has been based on the amount of NHS work a practice did in 2004-05 and there is no extra money for them to take on more patients. …

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