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2019 General Election: Job Promises to End Dental Checkup Charges


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Everyone will be entitled to a "free tooth MOT" in England under a Labor government, the party says.

The work is proposing to eliminate dental charges, which cover a checkup, a scale and polish and any X-rays that may be required.

He believes patients are delayed because of the fee – a checkup costs £ 22.70 – with many ending in A&E.

Dental leaders welcomed the change, but said there was a shortage of dentists that also needed to be addressed.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the charges were a real barrier to accessing services for some.

"With 135,000 patients who experience dental problems with A&E each year, it's time to put prevention at the center of our approach to health."

Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn added: "This is the first step in making all dental services free."

Labor said the policy would cost £ 450 million a year.

Health is returned, so the policy only covers England. Wales and Northern Ireland charge for check-ups, but Scotland does not.

How do billing work?

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There are three rate ranges for treatment. They are:

  • Band One (£ 22.70) – Checkup, Scale and Polishing and any X-rays
  • Band two (£ 62.10) – all band one treatments plus root canal fillings, extractions and root canal treatment
  • Band three (£ 269.30) – all treatments in band one and two plus crowns, dentures and bridges

People with low incomes, pregnant women and children under 18 or under 19 years of age and studying full time are exempt from charges.

Almost half of the treatments delivered each year are provided free of charge.

However, the exemption system was criticized for being overly complex and blamed for people who were fined for erroneously claiming free dental care.

How many people are without dental care?

Official NHS figures show that about half of adults have not used an NHS dentist in the last two years and about four out of 10 children last year.

But that does not mean that they all go without care.

Some patients may feel that they do not need to go while a large number pay to see dentists in particular.

The numbers also do not include those who receive care from specialized community teams, such as people with mental health problems, learning disabilities, and some people in nursing homes.

No data is published on the actual number of people who are left without care when they need it.

The paper pointed to numbers suggesting one in five delays because they can't afford to look for dentists, but that's from research a decade ago.

Will this policy solve the problem?

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In theory, free checks should make a difference. The British Dental Association points to data from Scotland, which has been performing free check-ups since 2006, which show higher NHS dental use rates.

BDA President Mick Armstrong said the exemption system is complex, so simplifying the system should encourage more people to come for checkups – although they still face the possibility of charges if they need some work.

But he also said that workforce issues need to be addressed to significantly improve access.

BDA research has suggested that three quarters of NHS dental surgeries have vacancies that they struggle to fill.

"Any plan to increase access must be accompanied by a service that faces serious recruitment issues.

"NHS dentistry cannot be delivered without NHS dentists."

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