NHS Dentistry

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I qualified in 1985 and after a year in maxillofacial surgery I started a long period of NHS dentistry, setting up my own NHS practice in 1993.  The funding then was probably not too different to what it is today.  As somebody wanting to provide high quality care and prevention it was not great but we could make ends meet.  At that time if I was to see somebody for an exam and a molar root filling, and filling I would have probably been paid about £90-100, certainly not great after expenses.  Today for the same treatment I would probably get £60-75 (this amount will vary depending on the individual contract!).  With modern day techniques and materials I would expect the procedures to cost me £40-50 in materials for 2 hours work, leaving me £20 to run the practice, pay a receptionist and nurse etc.  That would leave me far less than the minimum wage and probably out of pocket!  This funding issue is the same across the range of treatments and so practices find ways of playing the system in order to generate some income.  For this scenario you would have been lucky if you were offered a root filling today in an NHS practice, unless you wanted a private referral or alternatively an extraction.

Do you really still think you will get good treatment under the NHS?


About the Author:

BDS (Bristol) GDC No. 60458 Dickon qualified form Bristol University in 1985. He initially worked at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead before moving in to general practice. He has worked at a number of practices in Sussex as well as owning one in Cuckfield for a number of years. For the last 12 years he has worked at a Dental Practice in Steyning.
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