Sunday, 1 June 2008

Have I Got News For You...

Dental Tribune
... from guest publication "Dental Tribune", courtesy of my mother-in-law (erstwhile Practice Manager of Weobley, Herefordshire).

Last night it was pointed out to me that the front page of the UK edition reported on the NHS Dental Services debate in the House of Lords, on 24th April. However, what was frustrating, was having reported that Lord Colwyn, listed "eight reasons not to be a National Health Service dentist", it failed to mention them. Given that my father-in-law and one brother-in-law are NHS dentists, and that Lord Colwyn was listing these reasons as evidence of how our government has made it increasingly likely for dentists to become private, I thought I would hunt out the reasons (from the online version of Hansard) and list below:

1. The NHS does not recognise that a dental business is a business.
2. Laboratory bills are huge.
3. The UDAs, the units of dental activity payment bands, are seen as covering too wide a spectrum.
4. Dentists do not wish to take on new patients with an unknown volume of work needed, because of the risk of a large increase in expenses gainst a fixed-target income.
5. If the dentist falls short of the fixed target in his contract at the end of an NHS financial year, a proportion of his fee can be reclaimed.
6. If the dentist exceeds his target, any further work undertaken by the dentist in that financial year has to be carried out unpaid.
7. Preventive work is not carried out fully because dentists are too busy on the UDA treadmill.
8. It has become extremely difficult to realise the good-will value of the business by selling it on to a successor dentist, as the the PCTs will not provide any transfer undertaking or certification.

And the government response to these reasons that many, if not all, NHS dentists and patients would recognise?

Baroness Thornton: "our record on dentistry is strong".

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