Dental Services

Dental Services

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In April 2006 the Department of Health reformed the General Dental Service: Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) were given the power to commission dental services; the patient charging system was simplified; and under the terms of a new dental contact, dentists were remunerated according to the number of Units of Dental Activity (UDA) completed. The Department issued a number of criteria for success: patient experience; clinical quality; NHS commissioning and improving dentists' working lives. This report assesses how far they had been met. Various measures of access to dental services all indicate that the situation is deteriorating. The numbers of dentists working for the NHS and the number of courses of treatment provided has fallen slightly. The total number of patients seen by an NHS dentist between December 2005 and December 2007 has fallen by 900, 000 compared with the two years up to March 2006. Access is uneven across the country. The introduction of the new charging system has simplified the system for patients, but problems remain. The new contract was meant to improve preventive care, but dentists claim it fails to provide the time and the financial incentive to do so. The number of complex treatments - including laboratory work, root canal treatments - has fallen markedly whilst the number of tooth extractions has increased. The reason for the decline in the number of complex treatments has not been explained satisfactorily. PCT commissioning of dental services has been poor. The new remuneration system based on UDAs has proved extremely unpopular with dentists. It is extraordinary that the Department did not pilot or test the UDA payment system before it was introduced in 2006. The Committee makes a number of recommendations for improving dental services.Report, Together with Formal Minutes Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Health Committee. Funding 227. The DPA ... The DPA argued that under a voucher system patients would receive core NHS work free but would pay any additional costs agreed with the dentist. ... In addition a co-payment system would do little to encourage dentists to establish NHS practice in areas that are currentlyanbsp;...

Title:Dental Services
Author:Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Health Committee
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2008-07-02


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