NHS dental fees in England have been hiked today (Monday 24th April) amidst growing concerns over the impact on patients. This means the cost of a band 1 treatment like a check-up will increase from £23.80 to £25.80 while a band 2 like a filling will increase from £65.20 to £70.70. A band 3, like dentures, will increase from £282.80 to £306.80 – an increase of £24.
NHS dental fees (patient charges) were last adjusted in December 2020. Since then, many dentists across the country have reduced the NHS dental care they can offer to teenagers and adults. Moreover, the cost-of-living crisis means that patients who have a dentist, are not attending because of the cost.
Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee said: ‘This is an utterly grotesque display of priorities from the Treasury. This hike won’t put a single penny into a struggling service. Our patients are being asked to pay more simply so ministers can pay less. The government did not have to go down this path during a cost of living crisis. This is a cold, calculated political choice, that will hit millions on modest incomes. Ministers must know some face a choice between heating, eating and seeking NHS care. And they are carrying on regardless.’
The British Dental Association comments on the increase: ‘The revenue raised will not go to your dentist or towards improving your care. Amid a cost-of-living crisis, this hike is covering for government cuts. Dentists are health professionals not tax collectors. But over the last decade millions have been cut from our budgets, and the difference has been plugged by inflation, busting hikes in patient charges. The revenue raised by this increase doesn’t go to dentists, and will do nothing to help the practices struggling to recruit staff or the patients unable to secure an appointment. Ministers are simply making our patients pay more so they can pay less.’