Dentists 'may mislead patients'

Dentists may be purposely misleading patients, giving them inaccurate information about their NHS entitlements, in a bid to prompt them into paying for private care, a watchdog has said.

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Dental patients 'free to move' if not satisfied

Patients are being reminded that they have the right to move from one dentist to another if they are not happy with their treatment.

Nigel Carter, chief executive of charity the British Dental Health Foundation, said people are free to shop around, although many might not be aware of this.

Whilst it is reported in some cases patients may feel an element of coercion to take up a patient plan, when a dentist changes over from NHS to private, they are always free to move.

And there are many more paying patients, who because of the high levels of patient satisfaction with their dentist, not acknowledged in the report, chose not to move.


Dentists fight back over watchdog report

Dentists feel most people are happy with the treatment they receive Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Dr Susie Sanderson, chair of the BDA's executive board, said that research clearly showed the vast majority of patients were happy with the care they receive.

She attacked what she described as the "OFT's headline-grabbing approach to publicising this report", as it did not provide a balanced view.

"That it has chosen to ignore what it knows about patient satisfaction and instead focus on a very small number of cases where it believes it has identified problems is disappointing."

Health Minister: Dentists 'misleading' patients is a 'very serious matter'

We welcome this study which has found that the vast majority of patients are happy with their dental treatment, and that the vast majority of dentists behave ethically.

However, denying patients care on the basis of misinformation is a very serious matter. Any dentist that does this risks breaching their contract and we would expect the local NHS to take action.

Since May 2010 an extra one million people are now seeing an NHS dentist, and we are strongly committed to increasing the skill mix, making sure patients can see the right dental professional at the right time.

– Lord Howe, Health Minister

Watchdog: Study raises 'concerns' over UK dentistry

Our study has raised significant concerns about the UK dentistry market which need to be tackled quickly in the interest of patients.

All too often patients lack access to the information they need, for example when choosing a dentist or when getting dental treatment.

We also unearthed evidence that some patients may be receiving deliberately inaccurate information about their entitlement to NHS dental treatment, and we expect to see robust action taken against such potential misconduct by dentists.

– John Fingleton, chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading


Dentists may be misleading their patients, report says

Dentists may be misleading their patients about their NHS entitlements in a bid to make them pay for private care, a watchdog has said.

Half a million patients may have paid for dental treatment after receiving inaccurate information about their entitlements. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive

Half a million patients a year may have unnecessarily paid to receive private dental treatment after receiving inaccurate information from their dentist about health service entitlements, an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) study found.

Patients are given insufficient information to make informed decisions about their choice of dentists and the treatments they receive, and the dental industry is not always working in their best interest, the report said.

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