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Dentist pay 'shifted to quality'

Tuesday December 21st 2010

Dentists based in England will have their payment restructured to reflect the quality, not quantity, of the treatments they carry out, the Government has revealed.

It is hoped that the new measures will remove "perverse incentives" which create financial gains for spreading treatments over different appointments and calling patients back for little or no reason.

Three new models of dentist payments will be tested in the new year, with 50 to 60 areas in England launching pilot schemes.

The focus of each model will be on quality, with a new assessment being introduced to examine the "patient experience", safety and outcomes.

This new procedure will ask patients to rate: how easy it was to book a check-up; the facilities on offer; their experiences during the appointment; and how their treatment went.

The pilots, which will launch in April, will also look at how many patients a dentist has on his or her list, rather than just the number of treatments being performed.

The Government also wants to focus more on children's dental health and to improve access to NHS dentistry for all patients.

Health minister Lord Howe said: "This is about prioritising prevention. People need a dental service that helps them maintain good oral health and prevents decay, rather than one that is based solely on treatment."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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