Dentistry,  Socialized Dentistry

Dentistry Today: NHS Dentistry Near Collapse?

The Daily Mail has NHS dentistry ‘may collapse’

Britain is moving to the point where there will be an absolute collapse of National Health Service dentistry, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley has claimed.

But his claims on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One programme were dismissed later in the programme by junior health minister Lord Warner as “nonsense”.

Mr Lansley, questioned about the Government’s new deal for dentists, to be introduced next April, said: “We have got more than half of our population not registered with an NHS dentist and a significant number of people not seeing a dentist regularly at all.”

So, it might be time for the Labour Government of Tony Blair to begin privitization of U.K dentistry.

Canada, South Africa and Australia – all members of the Commonwealth – have private dentistry with safety net programs (except South Africa) for the poor, elderly and disabled.

He said that at the general election, the Tories were proposing renegotiating the contracts with dentists which would have ensured registration between patients and dentists and a capitation fee. The benefit of that, he claimed, would have been a direct incentive for dentists to promote good oral health.

Mr Lansley said: “It is scandalous that Mr Blair said in 1999 that everybody would have access to an NHS dentist by 2001. Well, frankly, we are moving to the point where there will be virtually an absolute collapse of NHS dentistry.”

The Tories are wrong with a capitation type program but NOT wrong about the collapse of the socialized NHS.

The Labour Government should not postpone the inevitable and immmediately begin the weening of the U.K public off of the public dental trough of the NHS.

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One Comment

  • Keith Walsh


    Most people automatically assume that the continuing crisis in National Health Service dentistry is simply due to a lack of adequate government funding.

    However, I think that the problem is more complex than this, and that the question of funding may in fact be of only secondary importance.

    I believe that Dr Lester Ellman, chair of the British Dental Associations’s general dental practice committee, put his finger on the real problem when he said:

    “It’s not to do with the money in terms of their take-home pay, but in order to be able to spend more time with their patients and to do things the NHS cannot do but the public wants.”

    – taken from, “Crisis to get worse, warns union”, Manchester News, Monday, 9th August 2004, see:

    Dr Ellman highlighted a particular problem which is that certain kinds of dental treatments now being demanded by greater numbers of patients are not necessarily available under the auspices of the National Health Service.

    For example, it appears that more and more dental patients are choosing not to have metal amalgam fillings placed in their teeth, whilst the established National Health Service policy has long been that only amalgam fillings may be placed in posterior teeth under NHS treatment.

    Therefore the real truth might be that, since more and more people are both able and willing to pay for private treatment in order that their preference for non-metallic fillings is met, then more and more dentists are able to fulfill their earnings requirements without having to resort to this kind of restrictive practice prescribed by the authority of the National Health Service.

    And an indication of the degree of influence which this particular example is having on the present crisis in NHS dentistry might be gained by asking a few dentists what are the respective percentages of metallic and non-metallic fillings that they place in their private and, if they have any any, NHS patients’ posterior teeth.

    Do you know if anyone has ever done this?