Thursday, February 08, 2007

More Dental Shortages Feared

The Guardian is reporting, this morning, that according to a Government memo, many people will be unable to get treatment from their dentist as the financial year draws to a close since NHS Dentists are only paid for a set number of Units of Dental Activity (UDA) under their new contracts. The report goes on to say:

But a report in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) says that patients may have to resort to emergency care or find an alternative practice because their dentists have fulfilled their annual contracts too soon.

A memo from the Department of Health warns primary care trusts to have "clear lines ready in case of media interest" if patients are left without a dentist as the financial year comes to an end, the HSJ reports.

The letter says PCTs must "ensure patients know how to access urgent care, publicise any spare capacity in other dental practices locally, and have clear lines ready in case of media interest".

Several PCTs contacted by the HSJ said problems were arising in some practices, with plans to introduce "pooling" systems to farm out patients to alternative dentists.

This is going to be hard news to swallow for many individuals and families alike. It is hard enough finding a NHS Dentist in the first place let alone the prospect of finding out that after having found one you may not be treated because many have fulfilled their “Quota” of UDA’s.
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