A recent article in The Times (28th February 2007) has highlighted yet another problem with the funding under the new contract NHS dental contract. It would seem that several PCTs (Primary Care Trusts, who are the people iin charge of the local funding of NHS care) have used up all of the money and dentists are now over budget for the care of their patients.
The outcome of this predicament is the inevitable situation where patients are facing a month long wait until the April new funding for, sometimes emergency, care. This situation was entirely predictable as almost three quaters of NHS dentists indicated at the start of the contract that they did not feel their was sufficient funding to treat all of their patients. The government was also aware of the situation as they had noted a fall in the revenue from patient charges, following an increase in the number of exempt patients taking up treatment. Amazingly their is talk of a cut in the budget for next year if dentists do not use up all of their allocated payments!
With situations like this arising in the first year of the three year contract it will be interesting to see how many dentists will continue within the NHS after April 2009.