"As most people in Lichfield, Burntwood and throughout the midlands will tell you, it’s hard to find an NHS dentist nowadays. I am already receiving many letters from constituents about this", says Michael Fabricant. "And today (25th November), a report by the National Audit Office has warned that Tony Blair’s plans to reform dentistry in the NHS could lead to dentists spending even less time working for the NHS. This will make the already bad situation, worse. Currently, nine out of ten dentists believe that Primary Care Trusts will be unable to cope with the new tasks the reforms would impose on them.
"I believe a new approach is needed to tackle the problem in NHS dentistry. Changes are needed. A Conservative government would introduce a contract between patient and practice: people will be clear about the level of service they are entitled to and the cost of any payments which they might be expected to meet. Patients will be able to decide how they pay, either on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis, or by monthly instalment. Patients will not be expected to pay costs exceeding £378 per year which would be covered by the monthly fee. Exemptions will be made for all patients over the age of 75 so they would have to pay nothing.
"And dentists would enjoy security of funding too by moving away from the current system under which dentists are paid for each treatment that they give, to an overall fee that reflects the number of patients registered with them. This will give dentists the security of a steady income providing they retain the confidence of patients. This will help keep dentists in the NHS" adds Michael.
The facts are these: