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My local practice set up about 10 years ago and now that it has built up its practice it is abandoning those NHS patients that have loyally supported them over the years. And get this, they are now demanding you pay 30 a year even to register with them as private patient! Pure greed! Martin

I can see the argument that there would be more NHS dentists if the government paid them more, but can I ask you, have you ever seen a poor dentist? Dan

If the dentists are being taught at taxpayers' expense over 5 or so years, I believe they should be forced to work as an NHS dentist for a fixed period of years. If they decide to go private only, they should be forced to repay the cost of their training. This is only fair to the taxpayer. R Brown

Richard Taylor couldn't find an NHS dentist and refused to pay up to 2,000 to go private. Instead, he paid out for a posh hotel and week-long holiday in Budapest after having four rotten teeth extracted. He paid 1,500, a saving of 500 on some UK clinics, after booking through Hungarian Dental Travel on the internet. (Source:
The People, Jan/06)
Nicola Lewin saved 34,000 by flying to Hungary for dental work. Ms Lewin needed implants and crowns after suffering a bone disease that could have made her teeth drop out but she was told by a private dentist it would cost 50,000. The only alternative was dentures, which she refused. So she logged on the internet and tracked down a place in Budapest that offered the same work for 16,000. (Source:
Daily Mirror, Mar/06)


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Sarah Smith was told the dental work she needed was too expensive to be performed on the NHS and could cost her up to 10,000 if she went private in the UK. Instead she flew to Poland where she paid 2,500 for the work, saving herself 7,500. On the first day of her eight-day stay, a representative from IQ Medica, which organised the dentalwork, met her at Warsaw airport before guiding her to a 50-a-night hotel which she paid for but which the firm booked. Hours later she had her first consultation with the dentist and after three days in the country she had the dental surgery.

She received a final check-up on her last day before heading home. During her recovery, the company organised a tour of the city and a personal assistant was on call 24 hours a day to answer any of her queries. Maciej Kuzma, spokesman for IQ Medica, said, "We have at least 30 patients from the UK every month and that number is growing all the time. This year we have already had seven people from the Derby area come for treatment. All the British patients complain about NHS waiting lists and how expensive treatment in the UK is." (Source:
Derby Evening Telegraph, Apr/06)

Spondon Dental Practice is going private and has sent letters to patients informing them that from the end of March NHS treatment will no longer be available. In the letter, patients are told the best way the surgery can deliver care in the future is outside the NHS because "providing quality dentistry has become very difficult within the NHS". The practice is thought to have between 4,000 and 6,000 patients on its register. The surgery will continue to see children under the NHS, but the letter warns that as the Government is introducing changes to the public dental service, this may change. The only other dental surgery in Spondon is in Strathaven Court, but, according to the NHS website, it is not accepting any more NHS patients. (Source: Derby Evening Telegraph, Jan/06)

Sathyan Thambirajah, owner of Friar Gate Dental Practice, said he had decided to go private, with the loss of 6,000 NHS places, because of uncertainty over the Government's plans for a new NHS dental contract. The new contract would mean that instead of being paid directly for each NHS treatment, dentists would enter into contracts with primary care trusts to be paid an amount agreed in advance for treating a set number of patients. Mr Thambirajah said he had grown tired of delays to introduce the plans.

Mr Thambirajah said, "It is not possible to run a business in this climate of uncertainty. I have invested 150,000 in this dental practice and need to be able to plan ahead. Dentists don't yet know how they will stand financially under the new contract or how the new arrangements will work. This is not a decision I have taken lightly. It is unfortunate because I have nothing against the NHS. But the sustained uncertainty about the new NHS dental contract has prompted me to go private." (Source:
Derby Evening Telegraph)

Cavendish Dental Practice in Derby Lane, Derby, is hoping to take on about 2,500 NHS patients following the appointment of an additional dentist. The city suffers from a chronic shortage of NHS dentists, with practices turning to more lucrative private work instead.

The Cavendish Dental Practice, which was set up in 1979 and has about 5,000 patients, does mainly NHS work, including providing treatment for many of Derby's asylum seekers and patients on benefits. It also treats some patients privately.

The decision to expand the practice was taken after a hygienist left, vacating one of the four dental surgeries. Of the 37 dental practices in Derby, only six are currently accepting both adult and child NHS patients with a further six accepting child NHS patients only.

Health Minister Rosie Winterton announced that the maximum price for a course of NHS dental treatment is to be cut by more than half to 183. She said patients would no longer be recommended to go for a simple check-up every six months. At present this costs about 6 a visit, with extra charges for scaling and polishing or x-rays. Those with healthy teeth would be advised to attend once every 18 months or two years, paying 15 for a complete package of preventive dental work. Patients needing simple fillings or extractions would pay 41 for the total course, including the initial check-up. Those needing complex treatment, such as bridgework, crowns or dentures, would pay the maximum 183, with no added extras.

Ms Winterton said the three payment bands would replace the current complex system of 400 separate charges for individual items of treatment. Dentists would be obliged to provide a receipt showing the total cost of NHS treatment, making it clear to patients if they were being charged for additional private work. Tony Blair promised in 1999 to ensure that everyone had access to an NHS dentist, but this guarantee does not yet extend beyond emergency dental care. In many parts of the country it became impossible to sign on as an NHS patient. Long queues formed when vacancies for NHS patients were advertised. (Source:
The Guardian)

The government is increasing training places by a quarter and introducing a new contract to improve access, only half the population is registered. But the prime minister said there was no way of forcing dentists to do NHS work instead of private. More than a third of English dentists' work is carried out privately, up from about a tenth 15 years ago. Mr Blair blamed the rise on a new contract introduced in 1990 which effectively increased workload without a rise in pay. The rise in private work has meant that many people have struggled to find NHS dentists, with queues being seen in some parts of the country when a new practice opens. Mr Blair said, "We can't turn the clock back, because I can't force dentists to come back into the NHS." The admission comes six years after the prime minister pledged to give everyone access to NHS dentistry within two years

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