Comments by the Prime Minister about the new contract for dentists have prompted a strong warning from the profession’s leadership about the future of NHS dentistry.
Susie Sanderson, Chair of the British Dental Association’s Executive Committee, has written to Tony Blair, expressing the profession’s anxieties over the Government’s new arrangements for NHS dental care, due to be introduced on Saturday.
In her letter, Dr Sanderson writes:
“My letter is prompted by your comments in the House and your assertion that the majority of dentists are agreeing to the new contract. We will have to wait and see how many dentists sign up by 1 April, but would counsel against any interpretation that equates dentists signing at this stage, with a secure future for NHS dentistry.”
Dr Sanderson’s letter also challenges the Prime Minister to commit to a thorough review of the new contract which has been widely criticised across the profession.
Dr Sanderson writes:
“We ask you to make a further pledge on dentistry by committing to a thorough, genuine and open review of the new contract and its impact on patient care, and to rectify the fundamental flaws which we believe are already apparent and which will emerge in the course of such a review.”
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Tony Blair said: “The majority of dentists are agreeing to the new contract, but it is true that some are not. We are therefore bringing new dentists in and training more dentists, because we have opened a new dental school – but as I have explained before, we cannot force dentists to come into the NHS contract if they do not want to. I am pleased to say, however, that about 90 to 95 per cent of them are coming in.”
The BRITISH DENTISTRY ASSOCIATION (BDA) represents over 20,000 dentists working in general practice, salaried services, the armed forces, hospitals acadhttp://web.archive.org/web/20070914170715/http:/www.bda-dentistry.org.uk/emia and research. BRITISH DENTISTRY ASSOCIATION