The results of a poll have reignited the debate over NHS and private dental care. Conducted by ITV’s Daybreak, the poll asked dentists about their views on NHS treatments and found some shocking answers.
Of the dentists polled, 92 per cent said that they think the NHS target system has resulted in more patients having a tooth removed when alternative longer treatments could have saved the tooth. Furthermore, 95 per cent of respondents felt that they were unable to give patients the best quality of care because they were afraid of losing access to funding.
The problem appears to be arising as a result of funding being based on Units of Dental Activity (UDAs). UDAs are awarded based on a completed treatment, rather than the number of items in the treatment plan. This means that a dentist performing a treatment with crowns will be awarded a set number of UDAs, regardless of whether or not they are fitting one crown or half a dozen.
The problem is looking pretty widespread, with 55 per cent of respondents admitting that they felt that they could have carried out more thorough checks on a patient, adding that by not doing so they were potentially missing problems that could become serious.
In response to the findings, the message given by dentists on the programme is that NHS dentists are keen to provide a more patient-centred service, but that they need “protected time” in order to do so, which will mean reforming the targets-based programme in place currently.
Have you had NHS dental care lately? What are your views? Let us know in the comments below.