Dentists need indemnity lifeline thrown to GPs
12 October 2017
The British Dental Association has said government must step in to save NHS dentistry from skyrocketing indemnity costs, following the announcement that the Department of Health will set up a GP-only indemnity scheme to ease pressures on the medical workforce.
Dentists have seen costs of compliance increase by 1086% in the last decade, while earnings have fallen by nearly 35% in real terms.
The pledge by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to the RCGP conference featured alongside offers of 'Golden Hellos' to improve GP access in rural areas.
BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said:
"Caught in a pincer between facing flat lining incomes and skyrocketing costs NHS dentists must be given access to this new scheme.
"We have a broken indemnity market and government is right to step in, but closing the door to dentists will only make this problem worse. We already face steep costs, and undercutting existing providers by taking away a big slice of their customer base may well impact on prices for those that remain.
"This plan is still on the drawing board, but it is imperative that no health professional, whether private or NHS, should suffer as a consequence of this intervention or as a result of continued market failure.
"Patients across the whole NHS are paying the price for access problems, mounting costs and underinvestment. The government needs to offer common solutions to common problems, otherwise it sends a terrible message to dedicated NHS dentists, and will only deepen the crisis facing the service."