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Jun 15

The OFT inquiry into UK dentistry

The Office of Fair Trading recently reported on the state of the UK dental industry. I don’t encourage you to read it…you are welcome to do so…but even I nodded off and briefly lost the will to live.

The British Dental Association are not happy and they are right not to be. The report seems happy to gloss over the fact that the overwhelming majority of patients are happy with their dentist. Perhaps the OFT need to justify the cost of this report by being sensational. Nevertheless the report highlighted some problems that we at SHDP,  in Hammersmith can feel, frankly, quite smug about.

OFT were very critical of a lack of transparency about private fees and calls for private fee guides to be displayed prominently in reception areas.

We have always displayed our fees on the practice noticeboard and our fees are freely available on this website.

They were also unhappy that 20% of patients that had a dental plan felt under pressure to join that plan. I’m pretty sure that we don’t have any patients that have felt pressured. It’s just not in my nature.

I’ve always been level with our patients – you get cheaper treatment, spread the costs of your preventative care and the practice gets a small monthly income. Win Win. And recently we amended the membership plan so that members can leave the plan, should they wish to do so, with only one month’s notice.

OFT are similarly unhappy that patients in the UK , by law, cannot have direct access to a hygienist. You know the situation. You call a practice and ask to see the hygienist but are told, correctly, by the receptionist that you can’t unless you see the dentist first. This is so that the correct diagnosis is made by a dentist and nothing is missed.

Well, at Salisbury House I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves – not that I wear any- and undertake a scale and polish for a patient that requests it.

Of course you would be encouraged to have an initial consultation anyway just so you are properly cared for.

Three reasons to be smug about the OFT report. But smugness is such an unattractive quality…. :(



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