NHS Dentistry

The Telegraph reports on the disaster of the NHS dentistry shake-up:

"This suggests dentists are simply removing teeth rather than taking on complicated treatments because they have become uneconomical to provide.

The report said that in the two years following the introduction of the new contract in April 2006, 900,000 fewer people saw an NHS dentist than in the last two years of the previous system. Even this could be an underestimate, it said.

Ministers introduced the reforms to the dental contract despite widespread concern they would not improve access to care. The contract was so unpopular that more than one in ten dentists refused to sign it and more than a third signed it in dispute.

However, the then health minister in charge of dentistry Rosie Winterton insisted: "The reforms will improve access, encourage more preventive dentistry and provide a stable income for dentists."

So many people saw this problem coming but the politicians ploughed on regardless.  There wasn't even testing done before the system was introduced.  The unintended consequence is that a lot of people are now missing teeth that could have been saved and an increase in spending has been combined with a decrease in provision.  This is yet more evidence that government really doesn't know best.

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