DENTAL fees for NHS patients have risen by five per cent – pushing the cost of a routine check-up to £22.70.
The charges, which came into place this week, has seen the cost of a fillings and extractions increase £3 to £62.10.
Getty – Contributor Dental fees for NHS patients have risen by five per cent
Health charities have slammed the government’s decision to hike the prices and warned that it could significantly impact public health.
But the government said the increase was important to help keep services sustainable.
Since 2010, the cost of NHS dentistry has shot up by more than 30 per cent, while government spending on English dental services has dropped by £550 million over the same period.
The Oral Health Foundation say that the increased charges will hit the poorest communities the hardest and lead to more people avoiding trips to the dentist.
How much do NHS dental treatments cost now?
Everything is going up.
A routine appointment will now cost you £22.70.
Band one treatments: check-ups, x-rays and a scale and polish, increase from £21.60 to £22.70
Band two treatments: fillings, root canal, extractions increase by £3 to £62.10
Band three treatments: crowns, bridges and dentures will go to £269.30, rising by £12.80
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the charity, said: “The cost of visiting an NHS dentist is increasing far beyond that of inflation.
“We have seen these price rises develop over many years and we fear it will soon push many of the population to breaking point.
“A significant U-turn needs to happen to make NHS dentistry more affordable.
“It is clear however, that the government continues to see it as a cash cow to prop up other areas of the health service.
“What makes this situation even more appalling is that while NHS charges for the public are increasing, investment is decreasing.
“NHS dentistry is dangerously underfunded and neglected by health ministers.
“It’s overstretched and under-equipped to effectively care for the nation’s needs.”
Dental services are free in Scotland and half price in Wales
In Wales, dental charges are being frozen for a second year.
Welsh patients pay 54 per cent less than those in England for check-ups, and in Scotland, they continue to be free.
Dr Carter said that it was time for England to start following the example of the Welsh and Scottish governments.
“England is really falling behind when compared to how the UK’s other nation’s address their population’s oral health needs.
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“In addition to lower NHS dental costs, these countries have also invested in preventive programmes which have been highly effective in reducing dental disease in children.
“The success of Childsmile in Scotland and Designed to Smile in Wales must be replicated in England.
“For this to happen, government must put an end to the heavy and sustained cuts to funding and show their commitment to the nation’s oral health and wellbeing.”
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