Polish dentists put in to the spotlight
 

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Polish dentists put in to the spotlight

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Polish dentists put in to the spotlight

 

Polish dentists put in to the spotlight

Scottish dentists have described a Polish recruitment scheme aimed at tackling the NHS shortage as a short-term fix.

The criticism followed news that ministers had welcomed the arrival of the first 11 dentists from Poland.

The Scottish Executive said 40 Poles had been recruited to join the NHS this year.

Scots in many areas have struggled to find an NHS dentist because increasing numbers of practices have become private.

Dental leaders have also rejected a multi-million pound incentive plan by the Scottish Executive aimed at encouraging practices to treat NHS patients.

Under the scheme, practices with at least 500 registered NHS patients per dentist - at least 100 of whom must be fee-paying adults - will receive bonuses.

However, the British Dental Association’s (BDA) Scottish committee warned that the scheme could discourage practices from carrying out NHS dentistry. It said the ‘target-driven’ qualifying criteria could mean more practices might abandon all NHS patients to focus solely on private work.

Instead it is calling for ‘a more equitable sliding scale’. This would mean all dentists treating NHS patients would be eligible for the allowances, and those with the greatest commitment would be eligible for higher levels of payments.

BDA Scotland director Dr Andrew Lamb said: ‘The intransigence of the Scottish Executive threatens to jeopardise patients' access to NHS dentistry.

‘There are many dentists, across Scotland, who are committed to their NHS patients and want to continue treating them.

‘Sadly, the approach of the Scottish Executive will make it increasingly difficult for some of these practitioners to continue doing so.’

Deputy health minister Lewis Macdonald, who met the Polish dentists on Monday, insisted the executive had no intention of reviewing the qualification for allowances introduced last October.

He said: ‘The main problem of access to NHS dentistry is
for adult patients who are de-registered against their will and then forced to pay for private treatment.

‘For us to invest money without setting a threshold for the number of adult NHS patients a dentist must treat would compound this problem, not solve it.’

The first 11 Polish dentists will be deployed in Fife, Forth Valley and Argyll and Clyde.

In total, the 40 Polish dentists will provide treatment for around 80,000 patients.

Mr Macdonald added: ‘It is clear the Polish dentists will play a valuable role in increasing the number of patients who are able to choose to access NHS dental services across Scotland.

‘That is good news for patients and good news for the future of NHS dentistry in Scotland.’


 Posted on : Tue 14th - Mar - 2006

 

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