BDA Scotland urges DDRB to invest in dentistry
It’s time to invest in NHS dentistry in order to reduce the impact on practitioners affected by the underfunded item of fees system, BDA Scotland have said.
Speaking to the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB), the subject was raised during February’s oral evidence session in Edinburgh that was led by the Chair of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee, Robert Donald; Vice Chair David McColl; Chair of the BDA’s Review Body Evidence Committee and Deputy Chair of the PEC Eddie Crouch; and National Director of BDA Scotland Pat Kilpatrick.
Serious concerns were expressed about the effect on patients caused by the underfunding of NHS services, which includes Public Dental Services cuts, less home care and assistance access, lack of provision of dental care for the elderly, and a dramatic fall in posts in Scotland – the number of which has fallen from 482 to 449 between 2012 and 2015.
BDA Scotland also raised the issues of low morale and motivation and the problems they are causing workers. Official figures show that amongst Scottish practitioners, the number of dentists wanting to voluntarily retire early is increasing each year, and 33% of practice owners are seeking to retire within the next five years. The dip in motivation has been linked to the rapid decline of income and the increase of financial pressure in the dental industry, as well as the subsequent effect this pressure among others is placing on NHS dentistry associates and practice owners.
The evidence went on to explore the recent study commissioned by the Scottish Government on the expenses and earnings of practices. The study has received the support of BDA Scotland, though concerns have been expressed regarding its small sample size, which only included 21 of the 947 practices in Scotland. They have theorised that this could potentially affect the reliability of the data and how well it represents the needs of the country.