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Government spending cuts

23 March, 2011

What affect will they have on dentistry?

Matt Reeves, Corporate Channel Manager, considers the impacts of changes within the NHS on dentists, companies and employees.

The new coalition Government is certainly making its presence known when it comes to budget cuts, and the dental profession will not remain unscathed.  On paper, the NHS budget looks positive and beneficial, with an increase from £104bn to £115bn over the next four years. However, it’s important to take the £20bn of efficiency savings into account in this equation. Also, with the ring-fencing of dentistry budgets coming to an end in April 2011 and funding getting tighter across the board, it seems unlikely that the NHS can support further investment in dentistry.

Budget cuts have already made themselves felt in the dental profession with a two-year pay freeze for all NHS staff earning over £21,000 per year. Also, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), the local commissioning bodies responsible for providing NHS services, including doctors and dentists, are now being phased out. These are currently at the centre of the NHS and control around 80% of the NHS budget so their removal will create major upheaval for all the professions under their remit.

Budgeting for dental care

Although it’s not yet clear how this increase in the dentists’ cost base will affect patient charges, it seems unlikely that they will not be affected at all.  Dental costs have, in fact, been on the rise for a number of years already, so future increases could make budgeting for dental care more difficult for individuals. This however, could make access to a dental benefit though an employer all the more appealing and with 64% of employees already aware of the rising cost of dental care*, this type of benefit has a clearer and more tangible monetary value.

*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.

Matthew Reeves
Corporate Channel Manager
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