'95% of dentists' say NHS system hinders patient care

The overwhelming majority of dentists feel patients are prevented from getting the best care by the way dentistry is run in the UK. 95% of those quizzed in an exclusive Daybreak poll blamed the NHS system.

Live updates

Govt 'only interested' in how many patients are treated

Dr Tony Kilcoyne said the Government valued root canal treatment the same way it would a simple filling procedure. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

There is "a massive frustration" among UK dentistry as the Government and NHS focus on getting "bodies" through the door, a dentist told Daybreak.

Private dentist Dr Tony Kilcoyne said patients were suffering because dentists were too busy trying to meet targets, when they should have been focusing on the best healthcare options.

"The problem on NHS dentistry is the targets are based on volume. The Government, who have made the system, and imposed the system upon dental teams are only interested in once thing - how many bodies you can get through that dental surgery.

"Now good dentistry takes time to do. Dentists and their team need protected time to do what is a very advanced procedure...on anxious patients who need more time to be relaxed."

'93% of dentists' would give different treatment

The overwhelming majority of dentists said they have ended an appointment feeling they could give the patient better care if they did not have to meet NHS targets.

In an exclusive poll for Daybreak, the GDPUK found:

  • At least 93% have felt they could have given a patient better treatment after an appointment but were unable to due to limitations imposed by the NHS system in England.
  • A further 55% felt after an appointment they could have carried out more thorough checks but were limitations imposed by the NHS system in England prevented them from doing so.
  • 96% think pressure to meet NHS targets in England compromises the level of care given to patients.
  • 93% of respondents say they worry about not meeting targets set by NHS England.


NHS target system for dentists blamed for poor care

Targets dentists have to reach in order to gain funding have been blamed for poor patient care by healthcare professionals, a survey has revealed.

Dentists have given patients drastic but cheaper treatment to meet targets, the poll found. Credit: PA

At least 92% of the 343 dentists who took part in an exclusive Daybreak survey admitted removing a tooth when other treatments could have saved it.

Currently, a dentists' funding is related to the units of dental activity (UDA) they produce.

Dentists get the same UDAs for complex treatments, like root canal treatments, as for providing extraction, so there is little incentive to carry out more complex and time-consuming treatment, they argue.

Back to top