The 2006 NHS dental contract has changed my working life dramatically for the worse. Both I and my patients are confused as to who we are obliged to see.
How do you define clinical capacity? My defence organisation says that I must see all patients and not give priority to my regular attenders, which sounds like business suicide to me and a sure way to lose goodwill.
I like to think that I am an ethical dentist which makes this contract difficult to work under. I have always given my staff an annual pay rise and I pass on the Government's uplifts to my associates.
But with the consistent rise in overheads and costs of regulation I have seen my personal income take a dramatic nose dive over the last few years, to the point where this is becoming unsustainable.
I feel I am at a cross-roads as to how to develop my practice. If I were near retirement age I would seriously consider leaving and taking the reduced retirement benefits. I am still at least 10 years short of this option
The UDA system is obviously not fit for purpose and causes untold stress at this time of year as we try to hit our targets. I understand that finances are tight at the moment for everyone but I hope that the Department of Health take this golden opportunity to develop a system fair for all the parties involved. However, I no longer have any confidence in them.
I have been qualified for 25 years and every change in NHS contracts always brings the same doom and gloom comments from dentists, but overall we have always prevailed and I have largely enjoyed my career and been proud to be a staunch NHS dentist.
The current system is taking this away from me and has produced far and away the worst period of my working life. I have always fully supported the ethos of the NHS and am saddened by the current state of it.
I really, really don't want to turn my back on it, but to work ethically under its current regulations and make a fair and honest profit is becoming untenable.
Anonymous, Practice Owner
Dental contract reform
We are campaigning for a dental contract that puts prevention first - find out what the issues are and what we have been calling for.