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A blog examining the government’s recent announcement that NHS dental treatment in England will rise by 5% this year and next.
The Government announced in the Budget that by 2017-18 a routine examination with your dentist will cost in excess of £20. As you will be aware, NHS dental treatment is currently classified into ‘bands’ of treatment. There are three bands in total which correspond to different dental treatment. The proposals will see a 5% increase in all of these bands over the course of the next two years.
It still remains the position that children, pregnant women and people on a low income get free treatment. The government have emphasised that the hike in dental charges will only apply to the people that can afford it and that dental charges are an extremely important contribution to the overall cost of dental services.
Several dental organisations, such as the British Dental Association have shown concerns about the increase in dental charges and are concerned that the increase will only serve to discourage patients that are in need of dental care.
Public contribution to dental charges has been in place since 1951 and this latest announcement by the government is likely to ignite the age old debate as to whether patients should be subsidising the dental health service.
Patients are recommended to attend the dentist for a check-up every 6-12 months and it is widely accepted that people do not attend the dentist as often and as regularly as they should. I fear that increasing dentistry charges will only make the situation worse and coupled with a shortage of NHS dentists and increasing waiting lists, the oral health of the nation could be seriously affected.