Thursday, November 16, 2006


Plenty of money for ever more bureaucrats but cutbacks in money for employing dentists -- with the inevitable results. Sad that it is hurting kids, though

THOUSANDS of children are being forced to wait three years or more for braces or corrective dental treatment, after new government regulations that affect the way dentists work. Patients needing treatment to straighten protruding teeth or correct misaligned jaws are facing long waits and permanent dental damage because of a shortage of practitioners and a lack of funding for orthodontic work, the British Dental Association (BDA) has said.

An estimated two million Britons are now unable to find NHS dentists after the introduction of dental contracts by the Department of Health in April, prompting increasing numbers to seek treatment abroad.

While many children require dental surgery before adulthood to prevent permanent damage, the new contracts will cut the number of children receiving orthodontic work by up to a fifth, the BDA says. Under the previous system, dentists were responsible for budgeting for orthodontic treatment. They are now limited to spending a certain amount each year, forcing them to limit treatment to the most needy.

A lack of funding for training has also exacerbated the shortage of specialist orthodontic dentists, experts say. A BDA spokeswoman told The Times: "The BDA is aware that since the introduction of the new dental contract in April, access to orthodontic treatment has been reduced. "This is a national issue surrounding the funding for these treatments. Only those patients who most need treatment will be able to get it on the NHS. "It's estimated the new criteria will reduce the number of children treated by up to 20 per cent. Those who do qualify for treatment may find they are on a waiting list of several years."

Some dentists who formerly provided orthodontics in less complex cases have now been given purely dental contracts, which has led to a reduction in the amount of orthodontic treatment, the BDA said. The Department of Health said yesterday: "The transition to the new arrangements has inevitably thrown up some challenges, but we are confident the NHS is now taking advantage of the reforms to put orthodontic services onto a more secure footing for the future." [Pure waffle!]



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

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