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MSE News: OFT calls for dentist industry shake-up

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  • Pennylane
    Pennylane Posts: 2,707 Forumite
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    The problem we have is one person who is unhappy about something they complain to at least 10 other people, conversely if someone is happy, only one person if you are lucky hears about it

    A lot of the time the problem is where people want cosmetic work done on the NHS, for example stain removal ( usually from smoking or drinking coffee etc) They are then aggrieved when this is unavailable on the NHS.

    Stains do not cause any issue to your health so why should the NHS cover it? Whilst I understand it is difficult to quit smoking, there are many people who claim they cannot afford £35-45 for the stains to be removed but they can afford the pack a day of cigarettes 7 days a week.

    The NHS is stretched, I would like to provide more cosmetic options but I understand that when we live in a world where cancer treatments are restricted why should people be offered veneers to cover 6 of their front teeth?

    The system at present works very very well for the vast majority who seek NHS treatment. Where in the world could you have any number of fillings and extractions to the pricely sum of £47 with a general clean, check up and xrays??


    The profession is being robustly regulated and all the costs are at a burden on the practice/dentist, the government has nicely packaged it that way.

    If the government set up their own centres it would cost them a great deal more
    Does it not occur to people that most of the press is propaganda?
    We do not get fair press in the slightest, and if there are issues its usually a very very small minority that game.


    I agree with the above posts, I drive a nice car as I live with my parents, had I owned a practice or my own home, I would not have been able to afford it

    Its funny how people only pay for what they want and not what they need.I have never heard anyone complain about their trip to the hairdressers or nail salon, but woe betide us money grabbing dentists. We have worked hard to be where we are, kept up to date with professional development, paid for all the checks and so forth.
    ok that is my rant over!

    That's because we pay our National Insurance all our working lives towards our health services NOT hairdressers and nail salons. ;):)
  • Toothsmith
    Toothsmith Posts: 10,077 Forumite
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    But your NI pays for the pension you're now being robbed of, and sickness benefits, and stuff.

    The NHS is paid for out of general taxation.

    And let's not forget, your taxes are also paying for our service personel out in foreign countries, and each Hellfire missile shot at a Taliban bomb planter (Which each cost the same as a top-of-the-range Aston Martin) and those nice new Aircraft Carriers, and all those bu££ered up computer systems in the NHS, the home office, the Inand revenue et al that were commissioned but never worked.

    Yes, you pay your taxes and NI, but the people who spend it do not just spend it on the fluffy bunny things that you want. A large part of it goes on complete crap - leaving very little for the stuff that actually matters to you.
    How to find a dentist.
    1. Get recommendations from friends/family/neighbours/etc.
    2. Once you have a short-list, VISIT the practices - dont just phone. Go on the pretext of getting a Practice Leaflet.
    3. Assess the helpfulness of the staff and the level of the facilities.
    4. Only book initial appointment when you find a place you are happy with.
  • brook2jack
    brook2jack Posts: 4,563 Forumite
    edited 30 May 2012 at 11:21PM
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    The total amount spent on all nhs dental services including the nhs dental charges paid by patients is around £36 a person a year (less in Wales,NI and Scotland). That includes dental hospitals, specialist treatment, dental health campaigns, everything.

    How much high quality world class dental treatment would £36 buy, well according to the government everything you might need.

    A bog standard nhs practice costs £130 an hour to run so how much time will that £36 a year buy considering that also has to pay laboratory costs on top?

    Does there seem to be a gap between what the government tells the public what they can expect and what economically can be provided.
  • bargainhunterz1
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    Pennylane wrote: »
    That's because we pay our National Insurance all our working lives towards our health services NOT hairdressers and nail salons. ;):)[/QUOTE]

    The general public is programmed to mistrust dentists.

    I would not expect any kind of different response. In 14yrs being a mainly NHS practitioner, its funny how many people still expect cosmetic treatments to be covered by that huge sum of £17.50 or £48 or £209. Treatments such as a gold crown on a front tooth, whitening of teeth, braces for mild crowding of front teeth, veneers are still expected on the NHS but this topic is a separate thread in itself


    The point is, taxes would be a hell of a lot higher if the burden of risk was on the Government instead of the dentist themselves. They would also be considerably higher to cover a lot of what people are expected as a core service. As more people need their teeth looking at than other health conditions, politicians use this hot potato to gain favour with their constituents. What the public doesn't even realise is that PCTs are pressurising practices not to see their patients as often. The message of 24months for a recall gives the average patient the idea they don't need a check up for 2 years. The risk is when there are individuals who come in needing 8 odd fillings and extractions this is not the message they should be hearing!

    The OFT report is not clear on whether the upset of the 138 patients in their survey, is from the lack of understanding the constraints or if there is resentment that these treatments are unavailable for nothing rather than feeling aggrieved by the care they receive

    The report has also thrown figures out from the air, again to malign hard working caring health professionals who are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    But then again what do I know, I am just a money grabbing dentist afterall
  • j.e.j.
    j.e.j. Posts: 9,672 Forumite
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    I don't believe the general public IS 'programmed' to mistrust dentists. I think the distrust, where there is any, has its grounds in what people have experienced first hand. Just my opinion.

    Hope ranting on here has made you feel better, anyway.
  • Itismehonest
    Itismehonest Posts: 4,352 Forumite
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    j.e.j. wrote: »
    I don't believe the general public IS 'programmed' to mistrust dentists. I think the distrust, where there is any, has its grounds in what people have experienced first hand. Just my opinion.

    Hope ranting on here has made you feel better, anyway.

    True in my personal case.

    I used to religiously attend the dentist every 6 months.

    Our old dentist retired & the practice went private so we hunted around & found another in a town about half an hours' drive away.

    First check-up goes OK & an X-ray was taken.
    I then had a phone call telling me that my X-ray had turned up a problem & that I needed to come in.
    Now worried, I asked if it was something urgent (I was off on holiday) & was told that I should come in before I went away.

    In I go to be sent, not as I imagined to the dentist, but (without prior notification) to the hygienist who told me I needed a deep scale.
    He also refused to believe that my old dentist had always done a scale & polish as part of my normal check up. I was told "Dentists haven't done that for years".
    To top it all he then said he was unable to complete it in one sitting so I had to go back again...... @, as I recall, £25 each time.
    I haven't been back for a couple of years since & won't be.
    I'm hoping that when I move to a different area I'll be able to find a practice that isn't on the con.
  • brook2jack
    brook2jack Posts: 4,563 Forumite
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    It has to be said two visits to the hygienist comes into band two nhs charges in England and Wales which is between £39 and £48 ish .

    It also has to be said gum disease is painless and quite often unnoticed by patients until it is in its later stages. One of the reasons to take x rays is to assess bone levels around the teeth and therefore if someone has lost bone around the teeth they have or have had gum disease. You can also see on x rays if tartar has built up in-between the teeth.

    Undiagnosed gum disease is one of the number one reasons dentists are sued and gum disease is the number one reason why people lose their teeth. 90% of people do not brush properly and only 20% of the British public floss or use interdental cleaning aids like tepe brushes.

    You need to find a dentist ,ask for recommendations from friends/family, because if you have gum disease you need to start making the changes you need to hold onto your teeth long term.
  • Itismehonest
    Itismehonest Posts: 4,352 Forumite
    edited 31 May 2012 at 10:11PM
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    brook2jack wrote: »
    It has to be said two visits to the hygienist comes into band two nhs charges in England and Wales which is between £39 and £48 ish .

    It also has to be said gum disease is painless and quite often unnoticed by patients until it is in its later stages. One of the reasons to take x rays is to assess bone levels around the teeth and therefore if someone has lost bone around the teeth they have or have had gum disease. You can also see on x rays if tartar has built up in-between the teeth.

    Undiagnosed gum disease is one of the number one reasons dentists are sued and gum disease is the number one reason why people lose their teeth. 90% of people do not brush properly and only 20% of the British public floss or use interdental cleaning aids like tepe brushes.

    You need to find a dentist ,ask for recommendations from friends/family, because if you have gum disease you need to start making the changes you need to hold onto your teeth long term.

    Thank you for your reply.
    Apparently, there was no gum disease. There wasn't even a mention of any particular problem when I went in to see them.
    All that was done was the same as I had always had done by my old dentist - pick around to remove plaque etc. & a polish up.
    I was told to make another ordinary appointment with the hygienist (as with the dentist) in 6 months.
    As there are only 2 NHS dentists (at least within 30 mins drive of here) & the only one which tends to have vacancies is the one I won't go back to (makes sense if everyone only goes there once or twice & never returns) it's not a simple matter to find an alternative.

    More to the point I've had my trust in NHS dentists shattered.

    I was neither informed that I'd be seeing the hygienist nor that it was not done on the NHS until I was actually in the chair. In fact, I put the reticence of the phone caller to tell me what was wrong down to the fact that they wanted to get me in but not explain it wasn't a big deal.

    We never used to have to be walking encyclopaedias of what should or shouldn't be included on the NHS or we were at least told what things would cost in advance & approximately how much.

    I'll have to wait until I move & then try to find a well-recommended dental practice because there apparently isn't a chance of getting into one here.
  • brook2jack
    brook2jack Posts: 4,563 Forumite
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    In your original post you said you needed two visits to the hygienist, as the work couldn't be completed in one visit ,at you thought around £25 a visit which is £50. The Nhs charge would have been around £48 for the same treatment in England.

    It would seem there has been a breakdown in communication as the fact you were recalled after x rays and needed two visits would indicate you have a problem with your gums. It is also strange that your dentist would send you privately to the hygienist at a cost which earns slightly less than they would get in total from the NHS.

    Have you investigated the costs of any of the private dentists nearby? What about the practice you used to go to? Plans to cover costs of check ups, hygiene visits , x rays etc can start from around £10 a month. In the end trust and good communication are the key to a happy relationship with a dentist and good dental health. The last thing you want is to be looking for a dentist when you have a problem, or pain and need to be seen quickly , and you will not have the time to make a choice about a dentist.
  • Itismehonest
    Itismehonest Posts: 4,352 Forumite
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    brook2jack wrote: »
    In your original post you said you needed two visits to the hygienist, as the work couldn't be completed in one visit ,at you thought around £25 a visit which is £50. The Nhs charge would have been around £48 for the same treatment in England.

    It would seem there has been a breakdown in communication as the fact you were recalled after x rays and needed two visits would indicate you have a problem with your gums. It is also strange that your dentist would send you privately to the hygienist at a cost which earns slightly less than they would get in total from the NHS.

    Have you investigated the costs of any of the private dentists nearby? What about the practice you used to go to? Plans to cover costs of check ups, hygiene visits , x rays etc can start from around £10 a month. In the end trust and good communication are the key to a happy relationship with a dentist and good dental health. The last thing you want is to be looking for a dentist when you have a problem, or pain and need to be seen quickly , and you will not have the time to make a choice about a dentist.

    Yes, I completed the 2 visits that were required. No mention of any gum disease as I said before.
    I actually only saw the dentist in person during my first brief appointment & then was sent off to have the X-ray taken by a rather nervous young girl who told me it was the first she had done. Then the phone call & then the 2 hygienist visits.

    When the original dentist retired we did look into Private plans but OH, in his 70s, has never been keen on paying for Private Plans for either health or dentistry. He's stopped going, too, & he was always the one that had the problems whereas I was usually just a check-up & clean.

    I agree that waiting until there is a problem is not a sensible idea but I had hoped to have downsized by now, be elsewhere & be using some of the freed up assets to persuade him various Plans were worthwhile. I do take pretty good care of my teeth which is more than I can say for DH, unfortunately.
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