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The Press Association
The Government's reforms of NHS dentistry have failed to achieve their stated aims, the British Dental Association (BDA) said.
The biggest shake-up of dentistry in 50 years was intended to remove dentists from the 'drill and fill' treadmill, improve patient access and lead to a greater focus on preventative work.
But one year after a controversial new dental contract was introduced, the BDA said the anticipated benefits have failed to materialise.
Its research found that 85% of 394 dentists surveyed believe the new contract has not improved patient access to NHS dentistry.
Almost all (97%) think it has not removed dentists from the work 'treadmill' and 93% feel the new system does not encourage a more preventative approach.
Furthermore, 95% of dentists questioned felt less confident about the future of NHS dentistry than they did two years ago.
Under the new contract introduced last April, dentists are paid for carrying out a set number of units of dental activity (UDAs) over the course of the year.
But last month, a Department of Health memo, reported in the Health Service Journal, suggested patients may have to resort to emergency care or find an alternative practice because their dentists have fulfilled their annual contracts too soon.
Health minister Rosie Winterton said: 'We have made a significant extra investment over the last three years - with annual budgets increasing by 400 million (in real terms).
'The overall picture is that, despite the speculation, the number of dentists is growing and rather than leaving they are actually keen to expand their work for the NHS - hardly indicative of a failing system.'
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Strabane Chronicle (subscription), UK - 4 hours ago
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Norfolk Eastern Daily Press
This is London, UK - Apr 25, 2007
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Daily Mail, UK - Apr 29, 2007
The research comes a week after Tony Blair admitted for the first time that Labour had broken its pledge to ensure everyone had access to an NHS dentist. ...
News & Star, UK - May 2, 2007
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Glasgow Evening Times, UK - Apr 25, 2007
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