UK government’s increase in dental charges met with criticism
LONDON, UK: The British Dental Association (BDA) and Oral Health Foundation have both come out strongly against the UK government’s recent decision to increase dental charges by more than the rate of inflation. From 1 April 2019, a routine check-up will cost £22.70 instead of £21.60, an increase of just over 5 per cent.
“The cost of visiting an NHS dentist is increasing far beyond that of inflation. We have seen these price rises develop over many years and we fear it will soon push many of the population to breaking point,” said Dr Nigel Carter, OBE, Chairman of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe and Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation.
“A significant U-turn needs to happen to make NHS dentistry more affordable. It is clear, however, that the government continues to see it as a cash cow to prop up other areas of the health service,” he continued.
Dr Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, Chair of the General Dental Practice Committee of the BDA, concurred. “Despite pledges of record NHS investment, our patients are being singled out to pay more, just so ministers can pay less,” he said.
“Dentists share the government’s commitment to prevention, but we cannot make progress when low-income, high-needs patients keep being offered reasons not to attend,” added Nielsen.
Since 2010, net government expenditure on dental services in England has dropped by £550 million in real terms, while the cost of NHS dentistry has increased by more than 30 per cent. In addition, a 2018 study published in the British Journal of General Practice found that there are approximately 380,000 patients every year who head to a general medical practitioner for a dental consultation. These consultations are free, but many general medical practitioners are unequipped to provide dental treatment.