Dentists to Receive Minor Surgery Training to Help Save NHS Money

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Dentists in the Bolton area are to receive training in minor surgery, in a move that will save NHS Bolton around £1 million.

At the moment, patients are visiting hospitals for operations and procedures, which could be carried out by dentists and is contributing to huge hospital care bills. The cost of treating a patient in hospital is up to ten times higher than treating them in a health centre and health bosses have consequently decided to provide additional training for dentists so that they can provide surgery in the future.

Health bosses will provide training for dentists at a new centre. Procedures will include extractions and minor surgery and patients can also be referred to the centre by their dentists if they feel that they cannot carry out the operation themselves.

NHS Bolton has confirmed that the range of treatments available will constitute those that “can and should be done” by dentists at a dental surgery, rather than doctors in a hospital setting.

Complex cases, such as patients with suspected oral cancer, will still be referred to hospital.

Dawn Scott, interim project manager at NHS Bolton, said that currently around 80% of dental cases referred to hospital could be treated in the community and changing the system to allow dentists to carry out more procedures will reduce pressure on hospital services and cut costs.

The number of referrals to hospital increased after the introduction of the new Labour dental contract in 2006, as dentists are paid to refer cases. A shift away from hospital referrals in favour of treatment in the community would reduce NHS costs and also reduce risks associated with sedation.


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