Has NHS dentistry reached boiling point?

Has NHS dentistry reached boiling point?

Dr Michael Allen shares his thoughts on the current exodus of dentists who are walking away from the NHS.

‘Four in 10 dentists over the next five years would leave the NHS’

That was what was written in the one of the latest FMC news bulletins. Yes! You are not mistaken, but are you surprised?

The NHS has reached a boiling point over these last few years and it’s quite frankly due to the lack of backing from our regulators such as GDC, CQC, NHS England and, finally, the government.

The overregulation of dentistry by the mentioned organisations has led to the destruction of the profession due to the bias of siding with the patients (the unappreciative, entitled, highly demanding) rather than the professionals and has led to a shoot first ask questions later approach.

We have seen many clinicians leave due to the pressures of target-driven dentistry. This simply doesn’t allow us to provide the care necessary to each patient.

People in the offices (who make these draconian rules and regulations without flexibility in place) fail to see that despite them putting strains on NHS practices to make the UDA quota, unpredictable events can occur.

For example, patients can DNA on the day or they could call in saying they have Covid-19 or be sick. Quite quickly a day list of 30 patients quickly turns to 15.

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Inspire confidence?

Yet come the end of the year, the UDA quota must be fulfilled or clawback will occur either from the practice or the associates. Ask yourself, does that inspire confidence or willingness to be a NHS dentist?

Many things have changed since the 2006 contract, which we can discuss about all day. But the major thing that has added to the strain leading to the enormous level of dentists leaving the NHS is the bureaucracy.

This has caused a reduction in the treatment time of patients. Dentists instead spend more time writing notes and worrying to see if a single word has been left out in fear that they could be subject to a fitness to practise investigation!

From the days of writing on the patient cards exam, X-rays and filling UR6 composite, we have now reached templates spanning three pages.

This has led to associates staying behind even past 6pm and locking up the surgery in order to catch up with notes.

Want to share your thoughts? Email [email protected].

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