Inflation Busting Increases in NHS Dental Charges

Written by Karen Bryan

teethAfter the escalation of pain in my left upper molars yesterday, I had to phone my dentist this morning to request an emergency appointment.

I was relieved that I was given an appointment. My dentist was able to identify the cause of the pain and decided that a molar would have to be extracted.

When I went to reception to arrange the appointment for the extraction, I was asked to pay in advance for the treatment. I know that my treatment fell in the Band 2 payment, so I expected to pay  just over £50. The cost was £53.90.

When I came home, I did a search for NHS dental treatment charges. I read that charges increased by 5% on 1 April 2016, and will increase by a further 5% on 1 April 2017.

How can the UK Government justify two back to back increases of 5% in NHS dental charges when the rate of inflation currently stands at 0.3%, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Personally, I don’t think that you should have to pay for NHS dental care at the point of use. It’s a deterrent for people who are on low incomes, but not quite low enough to quality for exemption from dental charges, to visit the dentist regularly.

If we have a free at the point of use healthcare system for all other medical treatments in the UK, then that should include dental treatment.