Hike in Scottish dental examination fees ‘barely scratch the surface’
New funding has been announced to support dental services in Scotland – but dentists say it does too little to address the backlog.
The basic examination (and fee of £9.95 per exam) is no longer claimable. Instead, teams can claim the enhanced examination fee of £14.85.
There is also the opportunity to claim the enhanced examination fee for children, with the purpose of incentivising dentists to prioritise children when tackling the care backlog.
The Cabinet Secretary wrote to NHS dental teams saying this is part of the £20m and £25m per year that has been earmarked to support NHS dentistry.
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But the British Dental Association (BDA) says these higher fees will do little to help the ‘colossal backlog’ of patient care.
It suggests the new examination fees will purchase around eight minutes of clinical time from when the patient enters the practice until they leave. As a result, if the consultation runs over, practices will face a financial loss.
David McColl is a member of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee. He said: ‘The new examination fees barely scratch the surface of massive underfunding.
‘They are well short of the £37 examination fees paid to optometrists. They do nothing to compensate for the woefully low fees elsewhere in the SDR.
‘The Scottish Government needs to significantly increase these fees as part of an interim funding model. This is to ensure NHS dentistry remains viable for dentists and our patients.’
The changes will come into force from 1 February 2022.
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