NHS dentist charges rise by 5% in England

Tuesday 02nd April 2019 16:48 EDT

An inflation-busting hike in dentistry fees mean NHS patients in England will pay £1.10 extra for a routine check-up. The new charges, which begin on Monday, will also see the cost of a set of dentures rise by £12.80 to nearly £270.

Dentistry leaders say charges are increasingly being relied on and in the future dentistry could end up as an NHS service "in name only".

But the government said charges were important to help keep services sustainable. The new charges are:

- Band 1 treatment (examination, X-rays and scale and polish) £22.70

- Band 2 treatment (fillings and root canal work) £62.10

- Band 3 treatment (crowns, dentures and bridges) £269.30

Analysis by the British Dental Association shows patient charges are increasingly being used to fund the service. They account for nearly 30% of the budget, up from just over 20% in 2010.

The government currently invests £2bn a year in the service - a drop of £500m in real terms since 2010. It means England is behind the rest of the UK when it comes to public funding.

Currently, the government funds the service to the equivalent of £36 per person per year, compared with over £50 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

BDA leader Henrik Overgaard-Nielson said charges were discouraging to patients and covering for "savage cuts".

"Unless ministers change course, within a decade our patients will be putting more in at the point of delivery than government. The service will be NHS in name only," he said.

The rest of the UK also uses charges. Wales has a similar banding system to England - but fees are between a fifth and a third lower. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the way charges are applied is quite different - but patients never pay more than a fifth of what their treatment costs.

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