‘We need to change the entire system’ – your thoughts on today’s dental climate

The cost of living crisis, NHS access troubles, increased interest rates – as families struggle across the country, many are speaking out about what they are currently seeing on a day-to-day basis in dentistry.

Last week the headlines were filled with stories about NHS dentistry – from dentists’ on-the-ground experiences to Rishi Sunak scrapping his plans to charge NHS no shows a £10 fee.

We heard from some in the profession who voiced their thoughts about what is happening in dentistry right now.

Brian Clarke – dentist

I come from a generation that used to happily combine ‘private’ and allowable NHS work in the same clinic and on the same patients.

Then came 1992 and the ‘new’ contract. It was either NHS or private, else one contravened the rules and regulations – we had to choose. I chose the private route and have been comfortable with my work and income ever since.

But very well aware that many dear patients were lost to our clinic and standard of care due to the impossibility of financing private dentistry.

The same situation confronted consultants in hospitals. Those who were in to see their private patients would always find time to look after those on their NHS list. It was only on another floor or another ward.

So my wishes are, let the medical/dental professions work both with NHS patients and their private patients – one pays for the other.

Yes, some differences will apply. But our standard of care will be the same and none of this ridiculous situation where, in dentistry, any professional worth seeing is not pushed into saying ‘this afternoon for £200 or next year on the NHS’.

Dentistry’s top stories

Preetee Hylton – dental nurse

The economy is screwed as it is and people will be struggling with gas/electric bills this winter and perhaps for the next few winters.

Life is becoming more expensive. Would it be okay to charge £10 for a missed appointment? £10 is a lot for families living in poverty. £10 could buy some families meals for a day or two.

On top of that, people can barely get NHS appointments, there are long waiting lists. Will this £10 non-attendance penalty save NHS dentistry overall? Not really.

What we need to do is make effective use of dental hygienists and dental therapists as well as utilise dental nurses who have specific skills sets like oral health education – change the entire system.

Prevention is better than cure. What is the focus here? Patients or dental practices?

Follow Dentistry.co.uk on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.

Get the most out of your membership by subscribing to Dentistry CPD
  • Access 600+ hours of verified CPD courses
  • Includes all GDC recommended topics
  • Powerful CPD tracking tools included
Register for webinar
Add to calendar