Dentists to be paid according to quality not quantity

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The government has confirmed that there will be a shake-up in the payment system for dentists; from the summer, dentists will be paid according to quality, rather than quantity.

62 dental practices across the country have been chosen to trial the new system, which will replace the system brought in by Labour in 2006. Currently, dental practices receive money based on the number of treatments they carry out; each practice is paid for a set number of treatments. Under the new system, which is being piloted at selected surgeries at the moment, dentists will be paid per patient, rather than per treatment.

Representatives from the government said that the new measures were being introduced to put an end to the ‘drill and fill culture’ which resulted from Labour’s system. The government say that they are aiming to encourage dentists to focus on the quality of care, rather than striving to reach payment related targets. The new system will be fairer and will hopefully encourage dentists to concentrate on promoting oral health; ministers also hope that dentists will have more time with each patient, as they will not be hurrying to reach targets.

The new system will also restore the patient’s right to be registered with a dental practice; the Labour system removed this right, with practices able to turn away a patient on the list if there is no space for them.

Health Minister Lord Howe said that the new system is better for patients and the NHS as a whole; he claims that the new payment system will lead to better, more efficient use of NHS resources.

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