Funds from NHS England could help provide care for up to 2,000 new patients over the next three years in the region, though industry experts say the Government is cashing in on dentists.
Graham says the funding is a ‘step in the right direction’ commenting on the news he said;
“It is a step in the right direction. For too long, local patients have been suffering long trips and longer waits simply to see a dentist on the NHS.”
“I would like to thank residents for alerting me to this issue and reassure them that I will not be resting on my laurels even though the financial offer has been unveiled. Only when my constituents can access a good, local dentist in reasonable time will I be content that sufficient progress is being made.”
While from the outside this may look like a good deal, the British Dentist Association have accused the government of ‘profiting’ from NHS practices by increasing the costs of seeing a dentist for the third consecutive year.
BDA analysis shows that government is now paying the lion’s share of NHS treatment costs for charge paying patients at just 68 NHS practices – 1% of the total.
These charges do not go to dentists, and are passed to NHS England. Revenue from patients is now increasing as a proportion of the overall dental budget, while contributions from general taxation are in long-term decline.
As charges have been rising at an inflation-busting pace, payments to dentists to provide services have increased by an average of just 1% per year since 2010.
Due to cuts, industry experts are accusing the government of using dentist fees as a ‘stealth tax’ to plug the budget gaps created by cuts made by politicians in Westminster.
More alarming, dentists also say that figures show 1 in 5 people delay having any treatment they need due to cost so are calling for a cap on further increases.
The BDA’s Chair of General Dental Practice Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen said;
“When patients put in more towards their care than government pays to provide it, NHS charges cease to be a ‘fair contribution’ and become a bad joke.”
“This absurd situation has been fuelled by inflation-busting increases, and flatlining budgets. These hikes don’t go to dentists, aren’t supporting needed investment or improving access. They are becoming a nice little earner for Ministers, which actively discourage the patients who most need our care.”
“This funding model reflects Westminster’s casual disregard for NHS dentistry. This service needs sustainable funding, not stealth taxes providing cover for stealth cuts.”