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Warning on dental health planning
Thursday October 15th 2009
Dentists are shunning complicated procedures and preventative treatment for patients, in favour of pulling out teeth, MPs have claimed.
Patients are not being given the correct advice about oral health and dentists are failing to carry out filling and repair work because these measures are not being incentivised by the current system, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley says.
The Conservative MP for Cambridge South called for a registration system to fund dentists according to how many patients they see rather than how many procedures they carry out.
It is feared that the current system could lead to treatment being provided on the basis of not what is best for the patient but, most profitable for dentists to carry out.
A shortage of NHS dentists in many areas has also seen increasing numbers forced to turn to the private sector to get adequate treatment. Dental health insurance is being used by more and more people to spread the cost of accessing the treatment they need.
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said the current contract also deters dentists from carrying out complex work.
Mr Lamb said: "There appears to be a perverse incentive against doing complex work, root canal fillings, for example, which appears to have led to something of a de-skilling of the dental profession with a lot of dentists simply not doing that work any longer."
Copyright © Press Association 2009
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