Private dental fees set to increase, as PPE prices soar

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Private dental fees are set to increase in the UK, as the cost of PPE (personal protective equipment) soars.

The British Dental Association has warned that patients could face a price hike, as dental practices struggle to cover running costs. The price of PPE has increased by up to 6000% since January due to a mammoth spike in the demand for gowns, aprons, masks and gloves. The BDA claims that practices may have no choice but to increase prices for patients to cover rising expenses.

The inflated cost of PPE is a major obstacle for practices hoping to return to ‘normal’ as quickly as possible, but there are additional concerns. As practices have been closed for three months, they have lost a huge amount of income, and this figure will continue to increase with appointment restrictions in place. Many clinics are only seeing a small number of patients per day, which is causing the gap between income and outgoings to widen.

Some dental chains have already confirmed pricing changes, with mydentist adding a surcharge of £7 for routine procedures and £35 for services that require the most robust PPE, including aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs). 

NHS patients will not have to pay more for dental treatment, and fees will remain the same. The increased cost of PPE will be subsidised as part of the NHS budget. 

Research conducted by the British Dental Association suggests that the cost of equipping dental professionals with PPE has increased from £0.30 to £0.45 per patient before the pandemic to £20-£30. Most practices are currently running at 25% capacity, so it will take a long time to boost incomes.

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