NHS dental charges to rise 5% in England

Published: Friday 11th March 2016 by The News Editor

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NHS dental charges in England will rise 5%, the Government has announced, as critics argued the hike will see dentists acting as “tax collectors”.

Prices will rise this year from April 1 and again next year.

The charge for a band 1 course of treatment – which covers an examination, diagnosis and, if necessary, X-rays or a scale and polish – will rise from £18.90 to £19.70, and in 2017/18 from £19.70 to £20.60.

A band 2 course of treatment – which covers all treatment in band 1, plus procedures such as fillings, root canal treatment and removing teeth – will increase from £51.30 to £53.90, and in 2017/18 from £53.90 to £56.30.

Band 3 – which covers all treatment covered by bands 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures such as crowns, dentures and bridges – will increase from £222.50 to £233.70, and in 2017/18 from £233.70 to £244.30.

The British Dental Association (BDA) criticised the move and said there was no rise in other areas of the NHS, such as prescriptions.

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chairman of the BDA’s general dental practice committee, said: “This unprecedented hike in dental charges will only serve to discourage the patients that are most in need of care.

“This money doesn’t go to NHS dentists – they are being asked to play the role of tax collector, while our patients are singled out to subsidise the health service.

“We can’t tell them how this extra money will be spent, and whether a penny of it will actually end up improving dental care or access to dental services.

“For Government, these increases may be a source of easy money but they will only undermine the relationship between patients and practitioners.

“These charges were first introduced in 1951 to limit demand for NHS dentistry, and that’s precisely what they do best. Government has given patients another reason to avoid visiting their dentist.”

The Government said dental charges remain “an important contribution to the overall cost of dental services”.

Community and social care minister Alistair Burt said: “NHS dental treatment will remain free for those under the age of 18, those under the age of 19 and receiving full-time education, pregnant women or those who have had a baby in the previous 12 months, and those on qualifying low income benefits.

“If someone does not qualify for these exemptions, full or partial help may be available through the NHS Low Income Scheme.”

Published: Friday 11th March 2016 by The News Editor

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