OFT to investigate private dentists practices

24 Jan 02
Dentists face an Office of Fair Trading inquiry amid increasing anxiety about surgeries rejecting new NHS patients.

25 January 2002

The OFT, which has received a number of complaints under new government rules allowing pressure groups to represent consumers, is to carry out a wide-ranging inquiry.

The organisation will examine how NHS and private dental services operate together, the incentives for dentists to treat patients under the NHS or privately and the constraints and incentives to provide new services.

OFT director general John Vickers said: 'Our preliminary study has given grounds to suspect the market is not working well for dental patients.'

According to the Consumers' Association, private dentists are charging up to six times the NHS rate without giving patients advance notice of tariffs. 'The lack of access to NHS dentistry removes any pricing discipline,' the association said.

The British Dental Association said it will co-operate with any inquiry. Many dentists believe that the scale of charges for NHS treatment underestimates the costs they face and virtually forces dentists into private practice, particularly in city centres.


Did you enjoy this article?