How do politicians of all parties maintain that the NHS is free at the point of delivery? Dental care is certainly not..

NHSreality concurs with a dental friend who observes: ” I have never managed to work out how politicians of all parties maintain that the NHS is free at the point of delivery! “.

Image result for dental pain cartoon

Rationing by co-payment occurs in dentistry and ophthalmology. Dental health treatments are becoming a domain for the affluent only.. A knee jerk response to rationing by o-payments in Medical Care may lead to the same inequities. A denial of the need for rationing is already leading to increasing inequalities… and the return of fear. (In Place of Fear A Free Health Service 1952 Chapter 5 In Place of Fear)

Chris Smyth and Neel Kothari in the Times 6th September 2016 reports: Toothache patients cost GPs £26m a year

Hundreds of thousands of GP appointments are being taken by patients with toothache as they try to avoid rising fees for NHS dentists.

Data from a study of 280,000 GP consultations over tooth problems was used to estimate that 600,000 appointments a year are made by patients seeking dental care. This costs the NHS more than £26 million a year.

GPs say that they can do nothing for patients with most types of dental problems, and going to the doctor causes longer waits for people who genuinely need medical treatment.

Fees for NHS dentistry range from £19.70 to £233.70 depending on the procedure — up from £15.50 to £189 a decade ago. They will increase next year by another 5 per cent. The rising fees mean that patients cover 26 per cent of the cost of NHS dentistry, up from 19 per cent a decade ago. If the trend continues, patients will pay for most of their treatment within 15 years. Dentists have blamed the rises on cuts of £170 million from NHS dentistry since 2010.

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, of the British Dental Association, who studied the data on GP consultations, said that dentists were being used as “tax collectors”. He added: “Ministers insist the NHS will remain free at the point of use but keep ramping up England’s dental charges. Increasingly they look like a tax on health. Already these inflated charges are pushing those who can’t pay towards overstretched GPs.”

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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