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Standards of NHS and Private dentists called into question


Twenty dental practices in the UK have been found lacking, according to information revealed by Which? consumer protection.
Out of ten NHS surgeries and ten private surgeries, eleven were rated ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ after visits from undercover Which? representatives. Dentist where found to rush examinations and overlook vital assessment points – in five cases, the consultation lasted less than ten minutes. It’s also an industry standard to offer an x-ray to a new patient, this did not occur in five of the twenty visits. Soft tissue checks were only made in five of the surgeries reviewed, a procedure that is an integral part of the screening process for oral cancers.

Only three of the twenty offices visited were found to be ‘good’, but none were rated ‘excellent’. Consultations at NHS dentists were eleven minutes long on average, not nearly long enough to have adequately assessed the subject’s conditions, according to industry experts.

The General Dental Council and the Care Quality Commission have both been alerted to the findings and taped evidence has been passed onto them from Which?, whose executive director Richard Lloyd has this to say; ‘In an industry that has not one but two regulators, this level of incompetence is unacceptable. Patients could be left with permanent problems that could have been easily avoided’.

NHS cuts could hit vulnerable dental patients


UK dentists have spoken about their worry over the impact of NHS cuts on their most vulnerable patients. A recent survey carried out by the British Dental Association has revealed that most dentists think the budget cuts will affect services badly, limiting access to much needed treatments. 

Although job security was a major worry for the majority of those who took part, most dentists were thinking about the effect on their patients before themselves; 83% of respondents said there were longer waiting times for appointments, whilst 72% felt that there was a reduction in available treatments. 58% of those asked thought that the standard of care had been compromised following the announcement of large NHS budget cuts.

The survey was aimed at surgeons whose work centres on patients with special needs, showing that two thirds of dentists in this sector were concerned with their patients being denied access to dental care and as a result being neglected within the system.

fortunately, it seems their voices are not going unheard, as the British Dental Association has said it will be writing to the Department of Health to persuade against Primary Care Trusts making cuts to the services of special needs dental surgeries.

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