Dentist fears for 'NHS in crisis'

PUBLISHED: 12:38 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 14:35 12 May 2010

MP Oliver Heald with Dr Alex Amery and Helen Cusworth

MP Oliver Heald with Dr Alex Amery and Helen Cusworth

A DENTIST who has opened a £250,000 state-of-the-art surgery has promised to treat NHS patients. This is despite concern over new contracts being issued by the NHS in April which will see dentists no longer having registered patients. The contract will be

A DENTIST who has opened a £250,000 state-of-the-art surgery has promised to treat NHS patients. This is despite concern over new contracts being issued by the NHS in April which will see dentists no longer having registered patients. The contract will be taken over by the Royston, Buntingford and Bishop's Strotford Primary Care Trust. Dr Alex Amery said: "The new contract will limit all dentists in the country. "It will be a disaster for patients because they like to be registered with a particular dentist, but instead they will have to shop around for a dentist if they can not get an appointment at their chosen practice." Dentists are currently paid for each piece of work they do, but under the new contracts, dentists will be assigned a contract value which is a lump sum worked out by how much NHS work dentists carried out in 2004-5. If a practice becomes inundated with patients needing NHS treatment, it could reach the contract value a lot sooner and not be able to offer any more NHS treatment. Dr Amery said: "We are going to work within the contract as best we can, but now the new surgery has opened, we are likely to exceed the contract value a lot quicker. "Unfortunately the NHS is in crisis and the PCT can not assure us of future funding." MP Oliver Heald, who opened the new surgery at the High Street, Buntingford, on Monday, said: "The new contracts are damaging. "The irony is that they are being bought in with the idea there are going to be more dentists, but in our area it will limit dentists treating people. "It will limit the amount of patients per dentist, so people who have a dentist now may not have one in the future. "It's very worrying." Mr Heald, the MP for North-east Herts, added that the dental surgery was "much-needed" in Buntingford.

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