The newspapers have recently been running stories about the perverse incentives/disincentives of the new NHS dental contract, e.g. today’s Daily Telegraph*.
Don Sloss, our Clinical Director, says of the new contract ” Even after nearly 3 ½ years most people cannot understand how the contract works and that includes dentists. Although I am not suggesting that dentists at other practices would allow their clinical decisions to be influenced by whether they make a profit or a loss from treating their patients it must be understood that they need to cover their substantial overheads or go bankrupt. Can you imagine working in a system that pays you the same whether you produce one unit of activity (filling) or ten with the result that some patients may not be getting the full treatment they require? Or a system that pays you the same for spending hours carrying out extensive treatment to save a decayed tooth or ten minutes to extract it even though that extraction may cause the patient more treatment in the future?
At Clock Tower Dental Care we believe in delivering a high quality of care for all our patients and making decisions based on the clinical condition of the patient and their teeth, not how we are going to get paid. Articles like these confirm that the move away from the NHS was in the best interests of our patients and I can only see the situation for NHS dental patients getting worse in the future.”