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Tories attack dentists in UK election battle

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Tories attack dentists in UK election battle
Tories attack dentists in UK election battle
by Daniel Zimmermann, DTI

LEIPZIG, Germany: With one of the closest elections in history underway, the British Conservative Party has released data claiming that dentists working in the National Health Service (NHS) are putting their income before patient care. According to the analysis, which is based on figures for 2008/2009, almost 7 million time slots have been used for excessive appointments and follow-up sessions, leaving millions of patients without access to NHS dentistry.

Only 1,800 dentists are currently enrolled in the NHS, covering a total of 13 million patients per year. The majority of dentists (approx. 24,000), are working in private practice.

The Tories, who are on par with the incumbent Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats in current polls, have announced to revamp the public dentistry system after a possible win in the election. They have criticised the current dental contract introduced by Labour in 2006, which caused the loss of access to NHS dentists for thousands of patients. A conservative led government will remove bureaucratic barriers and bring another 1 million UK NHS dental patients back into the NHS fold, they promised.

Labour has recently reversed its controversial contract after a new report by Prof Jimmy Steele from Newcastle University found that NHS dentistry was too preoccupied with treatment rather than prevention. A new scheme was introduced earlier this year that pays dentists according to the number of patients they see rather than for the number of jobs carried out.


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