Statement by Dr Eimear O’Connell, President ADI UK
The governments in the UK have unhelpfully decided on different rules for dentists and their teams. The introduction of fallow time was conceived as a way of mitigating disease spread and this concept effectively made the throughput of dental patients so limited that practices wouldn’t have survived without the government supporting them. The governments of the different countries agreed to pay a proportion of the normal NHS incomes for the practices to survive. There is now a backlog of patients and lots of treatments haven’t been carried out and there doesn’t seem to be a straightforward pathway back to access for patients.
Dentists are disillusioned and disappointed that oral healthcare still doesn’t seem to be a priority for governments.
Due to many patients opting for private dentistry and deciding to invest in implant therapies there has been somewhat of a rise in these treatments. This has been a good thing for the practices that provide care under this system.
There is ever more of a divide between the two systems with no sign of any change for the benefits of the majority any time soon. As ever, the issue of subsidised care for patients is always fraught with challenges between getting value for money and adequately rewarding those on the frontline and at the moment there are no easy solutions.