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One in four delay or go without NHS dental treatment ‘due to cost’

nhs dental treatment

One in four people are delaying or going without NHS dental treatment because of its rising cost, the British Dental Association (BDA) has warned.

As we reported last month NHS charges in England have risen by 8.5%, the professional body said it was concerned that patients are not seeking the help they need because they cannot afford it.

As an employer, you can provide your employees with much needed help in this area by offering dental insurance as an employee benefit. Our company dental insurance plans come in many different price bands and can be fully or part funded by employers. Why not contact us to see how you could help the health of your employees and their family.

A new poll by YouGov for the BDA of 1,723 adults in England found 23% report delaying or going without NHS dental treatment for reasons of cost.

The price hike now in force will mean the cost of a band 1 treatment such as a check-up will increase from £23.80 to £25.80, while a band 2, such as a filling, will increase from £65.20 to £70.70. A band 3, such as dentures, will increase from £282.80 to £306.80.

In the poll, people were told that NHS dentistry is currently funded by a mix of direct government contributions from general taxation and patient charges.

They were asked: “Thinking about how NHS dentistry should be funded going forward, which of the following, if any, comes closest to your view?”

  • 38% of people said dentistry should be fully funded by the Government through general taxation, effectively free at the point of delivery.

  • 29% said funding from the Government should increase, while maintaining some patient charges.

  • 16% said charge levels should remain unchanged.

  • 82% of people surveyed said exemptions should cover cancer patients, whose treatment can cause dental problems.

  • When asked “have you ever delayed or gone without an NHS dental treatment that you needed?”, 26% of people said they had gone without and 19% said they had delayed.

  • When asked why, 53% said treatment cost too much while 34% said they could not get an appointment and 13% thought treatment would be too painful.

  • On the main factors that influence what type of treatment people choose, 45% said the price, while a lower proportion, 36%, said the clinical recommendations of their dentist.

  • A fifth cited quality of appearance after treatment as a factor, while 18% said appointment availability.

The BDA is urging the Government to halt any further planned increase in charges next year. It said that while some adult patients are exempt from charges, many on modest incomes still have to pay, including recipients of low-income benefits such as Universal Credit. The BDA argues that price rises are simply becoming a substitute for Government investment.

It told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee inquiry last month that saving NHS dentistry requires a sustainable funding settlement.

BDA chairman, Eddie Crouch, said: “This hike won’t put a penny into NHS dentistry, it will just force millions to think twice about needed care.

“Sadly, widening health inequality is a price this Government seems willing to pay to cover for cuts.

“This is not a partisan issue. The public recognise this is not the way to fund a core part of our health service.”

Please contact us today to see how we can help your employees with the cost of dental care. Dental insurance could help you and your employees from unexpected high dental costs.


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