Your most frequently asked questions and our best possible answers!
Why do we have to pay for our dentistry treatment upfront?
Dentistry is one of the few NHS services where you have to pay a contribution towards the cost of your care.
Regularly, Ben has campaigned against this but to no avail. “Free at the point of delivery” goes back to the launch of the NHS in 1948 and Anuerin Bevan. But in 1951 the policy changed, and ever since politicians seem to have forgotten about dentistry. Ben even met with Tony Blair, when he was Prime Minister, to lobby for the removal of charges.
Often, we let our patients down by not clearly informing them of the costs of NHS dentistry. So please follow this link to the see the current costs on our website: –
So why charge up front? There are 2 reasons: –
1) First of all, this is not the dental practices money. We are obliged to collect the fees for the NHS, and the government sets the rules for this. We are paid separately from these monies by the NHS. Even if you are entitled to free treatment through exemptions, we have to charge you first. Then you have to claim it back, afterwards. (See NHS form FP17) http://bit.ly/2uGalFn
2) Unfortunately, when we ran a scheme for patients to pay at the end of treatment, many people failed to pay or ‘forgot their wallet’. On average this creates a bad debt situation at the average NHS dental practice of £24,000 each year.
3) By paying at the beginning of the treatment, our “failures to attend appointments” have reduced from 7% to 4%. This may not seem a high figure. However, over 12 months this still means we have circa 1.5 days of lost NHS time per dentist.
Why don’t you do a free polish as part of the examination?
Over the past 20 years dentistry like every other health industry has changed. NHS dental care is dramatically changing, focusing on prevention of decay over simply drilling and filling.
Put simply, the NHS is there for health, and anything aesthetic is completed privately.
Unfortunately, stain removal is not associated with health.
The confusion can arise from the NHS choices website. Here, it states that, a scale and polish is available on the NHS ‘If clinically necessary’. This has led to frustration with patients and us dentists. We have been working with the NHS England to remove this.
Over the next few months you will see a lot more changes within the NHS. The government will announce that there is no clinical need for the old fashioned ‘scale and polish’. There is strong clinical evidence for this.
Some funding that was historically spent on non-health areas, is now spent on an oral health education team. Their role is to focus on supporting you in preventing decay arising, through better oral hygiene. Please ask if you would like to see a member of this team.
Re-allocating funding has also allowed us to develop outreach services for hard to reach patient groups. This includes the homeless, where often, dental care is non-existent.
We have also been able to increase the numbers of patients seen at our practices. We now see about 400 more patients each month!
Why do the appointments often run late?
As with many other NHS services, the dentist doesn’t know what conditions will be presented until the patient arrives. Sometimes this means that we have to spend considerably longer relieving pain and carrying out the treatment plan than we had envisaged.
Also, we do give priority for emergency treatment to children. We always try to squeeze them in, promptly, even if we don’t have the appointments in our diary.
Sadly, there is no shortcut. No patient wants to be asked to vacate the chair “after 15 minutes” with the treatment incomplete. However, we will try to keep you informed, as best we can, if there is a delay.
Why do we need to fill in the same forms every time we come for an appointment?
We appreciate that this must look unnecessary, but it is an NHS England requirement, and we have to comply. But there is a practical reason behind the action. Increasingly, we are seeing patients less frequently, because their oral healthcare is improving. So, possibly, your personal details or medical history will have altered or updated in the intervening period.
Your reception areas are not very private and I don’t like my details being broadcast to the waiting room
We understand that privacy is important. If you would rather give your details to us in confidence, please tell reception. We will arrange to use a side room to deal with anything confidential.
Why is parking so difficult at the Rocky Lane, Monton practice?
We appreciate that there is only limited onsite parking at Rocky Lane. And there is no onsite parking at Davyhulme or Bexley Square. At Rocky Lane, we have asked the Local Council, on several occasions, to let us buy adjoining space so that we can provide more car parking. But on each occasion we have been turned down.
The Council tell us that there is plenty of available, unrestricted parking space in the adjacent streets and that’s what patients should use! Sorry – we have tried, repeatedly! (None of our staff park on site – we all use the side roads as well!)
At Davyhulme, there is also street parking adjacent to the practice, off the Circle. At Bexley Square, there is a pay and display carpark nearby, though it often fills up early in the day. However, there is one-hour and two-hour street parking around the Square.
I find it difficult to get up the stairs at the practice
If you have difficulty with stairs, please let our staff know when you book your appointment. We will try to make sure you are seen in a ground floor, or more easily accessible, surgery.