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At the dentist.

NHS dentists need to evolve

A recent poll of dentists has suggested that many feel that NHS dental practices won’t be fit for purpose in ten years’ time, suggesting that they will have to make changes if they want to keep attracting patients.

According to the research, conducted by Practice Plan at the British Dental Association (BDA) conference, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) feel that NHS dentistry will not be fit for purpose in a decade.

However, it wasn’t all negative for NHS dentists. It also found that two-thirds of dentists feel that NHS dentists will be able to give patients the right balance of prevention and treatment in the future.

The research, which was conducted on the day of the general election last month (May 7th), also revealed that a third believed the Conservative party could be trusted with the NHS dentists. However, 29 per cent felt that no political party could deal with this aspect of state-funded healthcare.

Out of the dentists surveyed, most would support NHS dentistry by increasing budgets, if they had the power to make key decisions. In addition, a significant proportion would reform the current contract, with lack of time and potential financial implications of the Unit of Dental Activity (UDA) banding system being cited as the main problems.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (62 per cent) were themselves responsible for offering either NHS or mixed treatment. With cosmetic care also highlighted as the biggest influence in dentistry at the moment, this could offer a solution for NHS dentists looking to expand their services and attract more patients.

Nigel Jones, Practice Plan’s sales director, said: “It was great to see dentists being given the opportunity on the 7th May not only to vote in the general election but also to indicate how they feel about dentistry and the NHS.”

He said the election had been a great chance to indicate how they feel about dentistry in the future.

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