Scottish dentists are being asked to provide more care for less money, Wylie and Bisset has said.
Launched earlier this year, the Oral Health Improvement Plan (OHIP) is causing concern amongst many dentists, the dental advisers say.
Wylie and Bisset says dentists will lose out on regular income streams as treatments are cancelled or made less frequent with the plan.
‘All dentists welcome any proposals to improve patient prevention in dentistry,’ Laura Fagan, head of healthcare at Wylie and Bisset, said.
‘The Scottish Government’s OHIP is welcome but lacking in detail on precisely how they intend to achieve their aims and how the new system will be funded.
‘Many dental practices do not earn enormous sums of money and are reliant on NHS patients to ensure they survive.
‘It’s worth noting that 21 Scottish dental practices have actually gone bust over the last decade.
‘Therefore it’s essential to ensure any changes to the way in which the NHS offers dental services need to be introduced with the full backing of Scottish dentistry.’
The Scottish Government is changing payments to dentists for the Childsmile scheme as part of the OHIP.
It is also introducing a system of monitoring to ensure all dental practices provide preventive treatment for children.
An Oral Health Risk Assessment (OHRA) is to be introduced and some patients may be recommended visiting their dentist only once every 24 months.
‘This means that for many dentists they will be seeing patients once every two years with the resultant loss of care and fees,’ Laura continued.
‘Without charging for a scale and polish resulting in a loss of income stream, which could put many practices at risk of closure.
‘The Scottish Government has said the method of funding dentists will change.
‘But have not guaranteed the new system will match the existing one in terms of levels of finance.
‘Dentists, like most people, are concerned about change and this fundamental shift in emphasis comes at a price.
‘They are worried they will not receive comparable funding under the new system.’