Change to NHS Dentistry
From 1st April 2006, the Government changed the arrangements for NHS dentistry in England [and Wales]. It has also introduced a new system of charges that NHS patients pay for their treatment.
At this practice, your dentists have decided to continue to provide NHS care under the new terms, but there will be some changes to the way we work. Your practice team will be happy to answer any questions you have about the new arrangement. Contact information is listed here. We always aim to provide a high standard of care and service for patients.
The Government's changes mean that patients are no longer registered with their dentist, but this does not mean that you cannot continue to see your usual dentist. If you ask us for an appointment, we will try to offer you one as soon as possible at a convenient time within the hours we have set aside for NHS patients. The NHS now asks us to provide a fixed, limited amount of NHS care each year and so we have to allocate our time and our NHS budget accordingly.
You can choose which dentist you would like to see at the practice, but it may not always be possible to arrange this because the particular dentist may not have any NHS time available.
Our NHS practice hours are here, and the times when we can provide urgent treatment for patients at short notice are given in our patient information leaflet. Urgent treatment means treatment that the dentist considers necessary to relieve severe pain or prevent your oral condition deteriorating before you can make a normal appointment. Out of hours, you should call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
NHS Patient Charges
From 1st April, Government NHS patients charges changed. If you pay NHS charges, instead of paying a proportion of the cost of your treatment, you will pay one of four fixed charges relating to the type of care and treatment you have had. The charge bands are given below. If you have a check-up and two fillings, for example, you will pay one Band 2 charge of £50.50. If you need a crown as well, you will also pay one Band 3 charge of £219. If you need three crowns you will also pay one Band 3 charge of £219.
NHS dental care is still free to children under 18 or under 19 in full-time education as well as pregnant women and new mothers, and people on certain state benefits. The practice team will be happy to answer any questions you have about the new charges.
Example of treatment
Band 1: Diagnosis, treatment planning and maintenance
Clinical examination, x-rays, scaling and polishing, preventative dental work such as oral hygiene instruction
Band 2: Simple treatment
Fillings, extractions, surgical procedures
Band 3: Provision of appliances
Complex treatment which includes a laboratory element such as bridgework, crowns and dentures
Band 4: Urgent treatment
Examination, x-rays, dressings, re-cementing crowns, up to two extractions and one filling
Reminders and recalls
At the end of your course of treatment, your dentist will discuss with you when you will need to see a dentist again.
NHS dentists will now follow guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
on how often patients need to see their dentist, according to their oral health needs. It is no longer the norm for NHS
patients to have two NHS check-ups each year, if you do not need them. The Department of Health wishes NHS resources to be
allocated to those who need it most. You can of course visit your dentist more often privately if you prefer to talk to your
dentist more regularly about your oral health needs, have a regular visit to the hygienist and have the reassurance that all is well.
NHS patients can opt to have part of their treatment privately.
Private treatment gives you more time with your dentist as well as personal service,
greater choice of materials and higher quality laboratory work for a better aesthetic result.
There is also a greater range of treatment options available as cosmetic treatment excluded from the NHS.
Because the charges are changing, some private treatment may even be cheaper.
If you are unable to keep your appointment please let us know as soon as possible so that we can
use the appointment for another patient on our waiting list. If you miss more than two appointments and
give less than 24 hours' notice, we may not be able to complete your treatment or offer you NHS care in the future.
When the practice is closed
If you need dental advice or care when the practice is closed please telephone NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
At your service
If you have any questions about NHS dental care, please contact us.
We will be pleased to help. Should you have any comments or concerns, please talk to your dentist or the practice manager.