Calls for £10k monthly fund for independent practices amidst new restrictions

Some independent dental practices spent £10,000 a month to keep themselves afloat while they were told to close during lockdownSome independent dental practices spent £10,000 a month to keep themselves afloat when they were closed during lockdown.

This is according to new findings by Rangewell.

Analysing data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), it reveals the health and social care has flatlined one quarter below its February levels.

As a result, it is urging the government to:

  • Provide more than £10,000 each month to all independent dental, optician and pharmacy practices in the level 2-3 COVID zones
  • A tax holiday on National Insurance contributions on overtime pay for all independent dentists, opticians and pharmacists
  • Temporarily revert the way pharmacies are paid so they receive payment from dispensing medicines rather than delivering services.

Crippling effect

‘Our high street dentists, opticians and pharmacists are in crisis,’ says Nic Conner, author of the report and Rangewell’s head of research.

‘There needs to be urgent action taken to save our community of healthcare providers. The further restrictions could be crippling to independent practices. Many of whom, without support, will be forced to shut up shop.

‘Like many businesses, the health sector saw a drastic drop in economic output when, on the whole, they were legally obliged to close. Even after restrictions lifted, the sector’s GDP has flatlined at 20% below it’s February levels. With no sign of a v-shaped recovery on the horizon.’

Immediate review

He adds: ‘Frankly speaking, the way healthcare providers have been treated since the lockdown has not been good enough. The government has to step up its support.

‘Healthcare businesses are the hidden backbone, ensuring the health and wellbeing of the nation. They don’t have time to be worrying about cash flow right now.

‘We are calling on Matt Hancock to lead an urgent and immediate review into ways the UK and dissolved authorities can support independent healthcare businesses.’

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