Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Vicious circle of blame over dental crisis

DENTISTS blame the Scottish Executive, Labour politicians complain of the profession’s greed, while consumer groups point to a historic decline.

When it comes to apportioning blame for the current dental crisis, neither side holds fire in blaming the other.

The Scotsman revealed yesterday that the annual number of Scots forcibly removed from NHS dental lists has almost trebled since devolution in 1999. Private dental practices now vie with traditional NHS dental centres for patients, with more and more Scots being forced against their will to go private to obtain the treatment they need.

The British Dental Association (BDA) says its members face a stark choice - spurn most NHS patients and work in the private sector, or go out of business.

The problems began when a new system of dentists’ fees was introduced in the 1990s, which led to a cut of 7 per cent in the fees paid by the government.

Dentists were then forced to take on more and more patients to make ends meet - with some seeing up to 50 patients a day.

Dentists claim the real cost of treatment carried out with the necessary time and care is often two or three times the amount they are paid on the NHS. Going private enables them to spend more time with patients.

A vicious circle has developed, where patients thrown off NHS lists are forced to seek private care, enabling private dentists to charge more. This, in turn, makes it more attractive for dentists to move over.

A spokeswoman for the BDA said the only way to reverse the cycle was to pay dentists a higher fee for NHS work.

"An increase in investment in NHS dental service in Scotland is of paramount importance," the spokeswoman said.

"In many respects, funding has stood still while politicians trumpet about the improvements they are making in other areas of the health service.

"It is unsustainable," she added. "We are aware that patients are not happy, but would argue strongly that the situation leading to where we are today is a political one.

"The system in Scotland is crumbling. The problem in Scotland is not about deregistration necessarily; much of the difficulty is due to there being an extreme shortage of dentists and that we are not training enough dentists."

However, sceptics believe that greed motivates many in the profession. The Labour MP Hilton Dawson said: "I believe this sort of decision often is motivated by personal financial interest, rather than concern for the well-being of patients."

Read the remainder of the article here.

Duhhhhhhhh....these Scottish Socialists still don't get it!

Wake Up!

Privatize you dental delivery system!

No comments:

Post a Comment