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An article published the week in The Times has highlighted the massive issues facing UK dentistry with 9 out of 10 patients surveyed not being able to access an NHS dentist.

Why cannot people register to see a new NHS dentist?

There are many reasons behind this including…

  • A flawed target driven contract that caps dental activity
  • Lack of dentists and dental nurses available to work in the UK
  • Government funding and inefficiencies

Does FHDC provide NHS dental care?

No. Far Headingley Dental Care has been operating independently for over 16 years. The decision was made in 2006 that it simply wasn’t feasible to offer safe and high quality dental care under the NHS dental system. A check up in just 5-10 minutes in order to meet targets of activity, does not provide the dentist with enough time to provide a thorough oral health assessment. Fixed fees for multiple treatments are also massively restrictive and inevitably lead to a narrow choice of treatment options and lack of customer choice.

What does FHDC as a dentist do differently?

We balance Quality, Safety & Efficiency by being able to set our own fees. Yes private dentistry is more expensive when compared to NHS dentistry (the amount someone pays at an NHS dentist as a fee is heavily subsidised by the Government). These higher fees though allow a practice to invest into multiple areas to help ensure that Quality, Safety & Efficiency are balanced in such a way that we can keep a focus on our customer needs. That is also one of the key differences in private dentistry. Patients are also our customers and striving to meet customer needs is also very important.

So where do fees get invested…

  1. Our team. To attract the best dental team, we need to pay well and invest in continuing professional development.
  2. Our practice. Investing in new technology, dental surgeries and maintaining our lovely building in Far Headingley Conservation Area (and paying those bills and taxes).
  3. High quality dental materials. Just like in every industry, there are a wide range of options. We buy high quality dental materials to help achieve your perfect smile and to maintain your oral health.
  4. Safety and PPE. The cost of PPE has been at unprecedented levels. We also invest into high grade medical emergency equipment behind the scenes including our own defibrillator, emergency 02 and emergency drugs (though we hope never to need to use them).
  5. Time. Possibly the biggest difference between Private and NHS dentistry is that a realistic amount of time is costed into our fees to ensure that our dentists have enough time to get to know your clinical needs, explain your options and then deliver the service without rushing or worrying about activity targets. We can also afford to keep waiting times down so patients can be seen promptly for their dental care, usually within days.

It cannot be avoided that dentistry is a very high cost sector and we hope that the Government sorts out NHS dental care. If affordability is not an issue, people should though consider opting for private dental care where they can to avoid small problems coming costly issues.

As a private patient, you can rest assured at FHDC we will continue to invest so our patients can continue to receive high quality and safe dental care in a timely way.

If you would like to register with our dental practice, please visit our New Patients page.

Link to original article in The Times here.

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