HEALTH charities have slammed the government’s plans to hike the price of NHS dental appointments next month.
From April 1, routine dental checkups will cost £22.70 – up from £21.60.
Getty – Contributor Prices of NHS dental services are going up as of next month
The Oral Health Foundation branded the price hike a “disgrace” and an appalling decision that will significantly impact public health.
They say that the increased charges will hit the poorest communities the hardest and lead to more people avoiding trips to the dentist.
We revealed last month that ten per cent of Brits don’t regularly brush their teeth – so imagine what higher costs of dental appointments will do in terms of discouraging them further from maintaining good oral hygiene.
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, 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.”
NHS spending on dental services plummeted £550 million since 2010
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.
Dr Carter said that his charity receives thousands of calls to its Dental Helpline from people worried about not being able to afford basic dental services.
“Many of these people resort to sacrificing money which they need to pay for food and bills, in order to pay for dental treatment. This simply must not be allowed to continue.
“Instead of supporting NHS dentistry and affordable dental care at the point of service, government have continued to steadily increase dental charges over many years.
“In England especially, charges for complex NHS treatment has increased four times faster in England than Wales over the past five years.”
“This will only lead to far more of us delaying visits the dentist due to how much it will cost.”
Dental services are free in Scotland and half price in Wales
In Wales, dental charges are being frozen for a second year.
People in Wales pay 54 per cent less than people 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.
How much will 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
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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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