Variations in the cost of dental treatment in the UK

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Dental professionals in some areas are being paid nearly ten times more than others, according to data attained by the Conservative party after they delivered several Freedom of Information appeals to English primary care trusts (PCTs).
The widespread differentiation in earnings is seen by the party as undermining the government’s standardised system, which came into existence in 2006.
The system involves practitioners being paid based on their ‘units of dental activity’ (UDAs).For example, one UDA would be a check-up, three UDAs root canal work and twelve UDAs treatment such as dentures. The cash value of UDAs is set by local PCTs.
However, the apparent dissimilarity in price for UDAs across the country has caused concern, with one UDA in Westminster being found to cost around £20.19 – £105.58, while in Sandwell, a fairly disadvantaged area in the West Midlands, it is £11.08 – £45.83.  
Andrew Lansley, shadow health secretary, said: “It’s not surprising dentists are deeply unhappy with NHS dentistry when the system Labour has created is so flawed.
‘It must be hugely frustrating for many dentists to know that others just down the road are being paid so much more for doing very similar work.”
The British Dental Association has responded by arguing that maximum overheads were not the same as that of average dental costs. 
John Milne, speaking on behalf of the BDA general dental practice committee, said: “It’s important now that the conclusions of Professor Steele’s review are consulted on and piloted so that a new system can be developed that can work for patients and practitioners alike.”



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