Denplan doing OK

My Mrs. and I pay about £40 a month for private dental care. This includes routine inspections and visits to the hygienist as well as emergency treatment cover. Between us we've missed four checkups and cleaning sessions during lock-down. I don't know what they would cost if we paid the dentist direct, but presumably the dentist would charge Denplan normally. Seems to me Denplan are doing well out of the crisis since there has been no reduction in the premium. 
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  • mandiesnackzmandiesnackz Forumite
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    As someone that works in a dentist, (not denplan) why would you have missed 4 check ups? We shut in April & have re opened. So 4 months-ish.
    Most practices set check up 6 monthly, less for some more for others but to have missed 4 between 2 people would be a visit every other month which seems too much.
    Did you speak to denplan to see if they could extend the cover dates to compensate for closure time? Or prehaps negotiate a lower fee. If no use get a quote from another insurance see if better for you?
    As a very rough figure an exam and hygiene appointment would be £80 + depending on area etc but that's from online search and what we charge. (Exam 35 ish hyg 45 ish.)
    My practice offers its own policy which is about £10 pppm and I know another in my area is the same
    That covers 2 exams and 2 hygiene visits per year + xrays. 
    Is the dentist a denplan dentist or just private because if not affiliated maybe ask if they can recommend another insurance company if denplan won't compromise. 😊
  • onwards&upwardsonwards&upwards Forumite
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    My dentist hasn't reopened yet, not even for essential treatments to save teeth or checkups to potentially spot problems including oral cancers, and has no plans to until at least next month. 

    I am distinctly unimpressed with how the dental profession as a whole has responded to this pandemic, and I think a lot of them need a reminder of what the phrases 'duty of care' and 'professional ethics' mean.  

  • edited 10 August 2020 at 11:22AM
    superbigalsuperbigal Forumite
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    edited 10 August 2020 at 11:22AM
    The dental profession has been governed by the government, the local health authorities and the chief dental officers of each country and are very strictly regulated as to what they have and have not been allowed to do. 
    In Wales dentists have been open all the way through for urgent care not involving drilling , and have been allowed to drill , with all the precautions since July. 

    In England dentists were not allowed to open their own practices at all for face to face care , they had to triage and refer only very urgent cases to urgent dental centres where very vigorous measures meant only four people a day could be seen. 

    In Scotland dentists were not allowed to see anyone , as per England and now are only allowed to see ten urgent cases a day per practice. 

    I know practices that cannot get a fit tester for masks until October , and all practices are struggling to get PPE as it has been reserved for the nhs and dentists are independent contractors. 

    Dentists were redeployed to urgent dental care centres, intensive care teams, covid 19 wards , labour wards , testing stations, test and trace , pharmacies etc and volunteered in their tens of thousands. 

    Even now the restrictions placed by the government means that they can only see , perhaps , 20% of the people they saw before. Eg if you drill the surgery has to be left for an hour afterwards before it can be cleaned ready for the next patient , waiting rooms cannot be used etc. 

    The type and cost of PPE has rocketed enormously eg even normal surgical masks went from £3 a pack to £35 or more a pack and all staff have to be measured and fit tested for fp3 masks by a qualified fit tester. The PPE is very expensive , difficult to get hold of and much more than used in normal times. 

    Dental surgeries have also had to struggle without staff members who are shielded , or vulnerable. 

    Finally I'm sure dental staff who have not been able to visit or see family members during covid , yet have been working all through inches away from many strangers mouths and noses really appreciate remarks about duty of  care. 

    I'm sure dental staff working 10 hour days and extra days in very extensive PPE in what is acknowledged to be a dangerous working environment also appreciate remarks about ethics. 

    One large group of dentists and many small practices have already gone bust as dentists are entitled t less financial help than betting shops. Many more are teetering on the edge.


    Some Corporates are making a pigs ear of reopening though.  Bupa are still paying all their dental staff 100% (why they did not use furlough is beyond me).   The majority are still sitting doing sfa for the vast majority of the time. Practices with multiple surgeries and huge backlogs of plans only opening 1 or 2 surgeries and not doing any Hygiene.   Some absolute wallopers of managers.
  • anotherbobanotherbob Forumite
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    As someone that works in a dentist, (not denplan) why would you have missed 4 check ups? We shut in April & have re opened. So 4 months-ish.
    Most practices set check up 6 monthly, less for some more for others but to have missed 4 between 2 people would be a visit every other month which seems too much.
    Did you speak to denplan to see if they could extend the cover dates to compensate for closure time? Or prehaps negotiate a lower fee. If no use get a quote from another insurance see if better for you?
    As a very rough figure an exam and hygiene appointment would be £80 + depending on area etc but that's from online search and what we charge. (Exam 35 ish hyg 45 ish.)
    My practice offers its own policy which is about £10 pppm and I know another in my area is the same
    That covers 2 exams and 2 hygiene visits per year + xrays. 
    Is the dentist a denplan dentist or just private because if not affiliated maybe ask if they can recommend another insurance company if denplan won't compromise. 😊
    Thanks for the info. My wife has missed one checkup and one hygiene visit, I have missed one checkup and two hygiene visits (different needs). Our dentist's website explains that though they are re-opening they are not yet offering routine visits. I will pursue the matter with the manager when I get the chance but though I accept that a part of what we pay Denplan is insurance cover it seems that we shouldn't be paying for services we aren't getting. 
  • brook2jack2brook2jack2 Forumite
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    Some Corporates are making a pigs ear of reopening though.  Bupa are still paying all their dental staff 100% (why they did not use furlough is beyond me).   The majority are still sitting doing sfa for the vast majority of the time. Practices with multiple surgeries and huge backlogs of plans only opening 1 or 2 surgeries and not doing any Hygiene.   Some absolute wallopers of managers.
    Any dental practice with a NHS contract was not allowed to furlough staff so they could be redeployed in eg urgent dental care centres etc . Most dental practices are mixed and even if they had a small NHS contract they were not allowed to furlough in some places. 

    Practices can only open one or two surgeries because every time they create an aerosol eg by drilling or using air the surgery needs to be left for one hour before they can even decontaminate ready for the next patient. So each dentist rotates through two surgeries , working in one whilst the other lies fallow, so they can start on the backlog of treatment. 

    Hygiene visits create an aerosol and because toothache, emergency treatment and outstanding treatment are prioritised there is just not space in most practices for hygienists to work as there are not enough surgeries for fallow time in between treatments. 

    Most practices are opening extra hours and extra days to try to get through the backlog , but it's exhausting. By law the staff have to have the fp3 masks off at least every hour as oxygen levels drop and people overheat in the PPE . People get physically exhausted doing ten hour days to try to catch up. 

    Added to this many staff are vulnerable due to medical history etc so staff numbers are down , and as people have to be tested if they show any signs or symptoms of corona and can't work until they get all clear , this keeps numbers down. 

  • ripplyukripplyuk Forumite
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    Dentists were redeployed to urgent dental care centres, intensive care teams, covid 19 wards , labour wards , testing stations, test and trace , pharmacies etc and volunteered in their tens of thousands. 


    I didn’t realise they redeployed dentists for these job. Were they delivering babies on the labour ward? 😯 I already heard about the psychiatrists being roped in to help on the Covid wards and intensive care, openly admitting they had no idea what they were doing. One was yanked out of retirement and hadn’t seen a venflon in over 40yrs. 

    OP, I don’t think you’ve lost out with Denplan. The money you pay each month is what they expect your treatment to cost over the year. There’s still plenty of the year left to get whatever you need done. It’s just spreading out the cost. 
  • brook2jack2brook2jack2 Forumite
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    https://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/2020/smd/from-being-a-dentist-and-mother-to-being-on-maternity-wards-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.html

    Doing obs, placing cannulas , assisting in theatre etc . Many dentists have done hospital jobs of one type or another , and if doing sedation etc can be skilled in placing cannulas etc 
  • superbigalsuperbigal Forumite
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    Some Corporates are making a pigs ear of reopening though.  Bupa are still paying all their dental staff 100% (why they did not use furlough is beyond me).   The majority are still sitting doing sfa for the vast majority of the time. Practices with multiple surgeries and huge backlogs of plans only opening 1 or 2 surgeries and not doing any Hygiene.   Some absolute wallopers of managers.
    Any dental practice with a NHS contract was not allowed to furlough staff so they could be redeployed in eg urgent dental care centres etc . Most dental practices are mixed and even if they had a small NHS contract they were not allowed to furlough in some places.   This is just not true.  If your practice had 50% private income then you could happily Furlough 50% of the value of your wage bill. 

    Practices can only open one or two surgeries because every time they create an aerosol eg by drilling or using air the surgery needs to be left for one hour before they can even decontaminate ready for the next patient. So each dentist rotates through two surgeries , working in one whilst the other lies fallow, so they can start on the backlog of treatment. 
    I know of a practice with 8 surgeries that has just not bothered getting approval to open any more than the 2 requested.  How is that dealing with backlog ?

    Hygiene visits create an aerosol and because toothache, emergency treatment and outstanding treatment are prioritised there is just not space in most practices for hygienists to work as there are not enough surgeries for fallow time in between treatments.  My wife is a Hygienist and happily working in the old fashioned way hand scaling in her locally owned mixed practice. No need for any Aerosol and clients are delighted to get any treatment rather than none. The backlog on prepaid plans has to be cleared. Her other gig is unfortunately managed by lazy and possibly ignorant managers who also believe an AGP is an essential part of a scaling.

    Most practices are opening extra hours and extra days to try to get through the backlog , but it's exhausting. By law the staff have to have the fp3 masks off at least every hour as oxygen levels drop and people overheat in the PPE . People get physically exhausted doing ten hour days to try to catch up. 

    Added to this many staff are vulnerable due to medical history etc so staff numbers are down , and as people have to be tested if they show any signs or symptoms of corona and can't work until they get all clear , this keeps numbers down. 

    Normally agree with a lot of your good posting explaining or defending what is going on in the industry.
    However this time I disagree with a few points above.  This is from a Scottish perspective in BOLD
  • brook2jack2brook2jack2 Forumite
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    Scotland is different. Same as Wales and Ireland. 
    In England mixed practices were not allowed to furlough if any NHS contract until, I believe very late on when situation was clarified but it was impossible to furlough people for part of their job so most mixed practices could not furlough anyone . In England no surgery was allowed to see anyone unless they were an urgent care centre. 
    In Wales private practices were not allowed to open at all during lockdown and NHS And mixed practices were not allowed to close and had to see all , not just regular patients. They could furlough part of staff if mixed practice . 

    In Scotland purely private practices were allowed unrestricted opening a while ago , practices with NHS contract are restricted to ten patients a day non agp maximum per practice . Hence no point in opening all 8 surgeries as they would only see a patient a day in each surgery with the added costs of that. https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/fears-over-future-scots-dental-22229930 
    Again the situation with furlough in mixed practice was very unclear and in some areas practices were told they could not furlough even if they were mixed. Even then there are many conditions on furlough and practices with new staff , or staff on sick leave could not furlough them https://www.bos.org.uk/Portals/0/Public/docs/Advice%20Sheets/COVID19%20FACTSHEETS/BOS%20ARTCILE%20COVID%2015%20April.pdf

    There is a massive problem with all four countries sourcing PPE , as well as fit testing . 

    As you will know , because of your wife, dentists, therapists and hygienists are self employed so could not be furloughed in any country , and because many earn just above £50,000 they were not entitled to any financial self employed Grant. Most dental practices are also ineligible for many grants tied to rateable values etc as well. 

    Most practices do not have an excess of surgeries and even if a hygienist does non agp treatment resources are directed towards treating urgent , and deferred treatment first. I know of very,very few practices where hygienists are working at the moment , most are struggling to cope with the backlog. 

    The economics of dental practice are such that opening and seeing patients is haemorrhaging money at an incredible rate . With all the precautions and fallow time it is impossible to run without loosing money every day.

    Finally , as you will know , it is virtually impossible to get dental locums so if a practice has staff or dentists who are medically compromised, 28 or more weeks pregnant , have childcare problems then they may very well only be able to open in a limited way. 
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