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Changing regulations for dentists

21 March, 2011

What is the impact for companies?

Roger Matthews, Denplan’s chief dental officer, analyses the impact of changes in dental regulations for companies and intermediaries.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has also now taken over responsibility and registration of all health and social care providers in England to ensure that all patients receive a common standard of care. From April 2011 the CQC will be responsible for the registration and oversight of all dental practices in England – both NHS and private – and have set essential standards of quality and safety which must be met. In order to adhere to these standards it’s likely that each practitioner will incur recurrent costs of at least £20,000 per year, which will inevitably affect charges to the consumer in the years to come.

Impact of the NHS

Then there are the proposed changes to the NHS dental contract to take into consideration. Piloting of the contract is already underway, and it seems increasingly likely that a ‘Capitation, Registration and Quality’ model will be taken forward.  If capitation is calculated using a deprivation scoring system, those in the greatest need will get the most amount of capitation. This sounds like a good idea in theory, but it does mean that dentists will have no control over the level of capitation for their patients. Deprivation could be worked out regionally, which means that NHS dentists in fairly affluent areas could see their income drop considerably. 

If the changes to the dental contract in 2006 are anything to go by, this type of upheaval could be a huge benefit to brokers selling dental benefit packages, as it would create an even higher demand.  Also, brokers are not only in an ideal position to monitor the healthcare provision in their areas, but they can use this information, and that from expert providers, to inform their clients. Furthermore, the cost pressure being put on dentists means that dental benefits are becoming more relevant and desirable to employees and, with almost 60% attending the dentist at least once a year*, you would be hard pushed to find another health benefit with a higher potential take-up.

 *The term “employee” refers to individuals currently in employment. Denplan contacted 6,000 corporate decision makers during March 2010, 518 responded. Denplan commissioned YouGov to conduct independent research with 1,486 employees during March 2010.

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