Tuesday, July 5, 2022
NewsHealthScots dentist that serves over 10,000 patients axes NHS clients

Scots dentist that serves over 10,000 patients axes NHS clients

A SCOTS dentist that looks after over 10,000 patients has announced it will be going private and de-registering their NHS service users.

Links Dental Practice in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, contacted clients by email on Sunday to let them know they will need to pay if they want to stay with them.

From October this year, all NHS patients will be removed from their list but can sign up to use their private services.

The Edinburgh practice has been treating patients since 1993.

They have offered patients the choice of “pay-as-you-go” or to join one of their two payment plans which start from £258-per year.

Their self-titled “Pain Free Plan” costs £21.50-per-month and includes two hygiene visits, two dental check-ups and two emergency visits.

The £27-per-month “Pain Free Plan Extra” allows clients to have an additional two hygiene visits added on for the year.

The dentistry looks after over 10,000 people, meaning thousands of NHS patients are likely to have to try and find another practice or cough up more cash.

The email read: “At Links Dental Practice have worked hard to ensure that we have always provided our patients with NHS dentistry.

“We have however, found over the last few years, that there is an ever-widening gap between what is now clinically available, and what is within our capability, compared to what the NHS expects to be provided.

“Covid-19 has further complicated the situation, with even further restrictions being made limiting our NHS services even more.

“This has made it impossible to provide the level of care that each patient deserves. In light of this and after much sincere reflection, we have made the difficult decision to move away from the NHS and become an Independent Private Practice.

“From 1st October 2022 our NHS Adult commitment will cease, and you will be deregistered from our Practice, as an NHS patient.”

They added: “Until that time, we will continue to provide emergency treatment, and will endeavour to complete all outstanding treatment plans.

“We will no longer provide NHS general dental checkups, or NHS hygiene appointments, from 1st July 2022 if not already scheduled.

“Going forward, we would warmly welcome you to continue with us and access care on a private basis.

“Parents who sign up to the dental plan, or attend regularly as a private patient, can be rest assured that we will continue to see children (under the age of 18) under the NHS.”

Dad-of-one Scott Douglas, 53, from Marchmont, Edinburgh, today said: “I was raging when I received this impersonal email.

“I’ve been with Links Dental for at least 15 years and it was always a friendly, accessible practice. However, it was taken over recently and it’s been a different story since then.

“After immediately hiking up prices, the dental team seem much more interested in upselling private treatments than actually giving patients a simple dental service, so I should have seen the warning signs.

“Still, I could put up with that, even if it involved a bit of eye rolling on my part.

“But I was genuinely shocked when they pulled this move.

“Deregistering thousands of NHS patients at the stroke of a pen is breathtaking and seems to me to be driven by simple greed with little thought of community or patient welfare.

“It’s not easy to find other practices which are enrolling NHS patients and I’m sure those who have full-time jobs, busy family lives or those who are elderly or vulnerable will be adversely affected by this.

“There are plenty of practices which balance delivery of private dentistry while still maintaining care for NHS patients.

“After building up its business on the backs of loyal NHS patients, it is outrageous that Links Dental is now throwing them under the bus.”

Earlier this year the British Dental Association’s Scottish dental practice committee slammed the Scottish Government for rejecting a bid to extend financial support for dentists beyond March.

More than a third of dentists said they intended to leave over the next 12 months.

While 80 percent of dentists expressed plans to reduce their NHS commitment.

Public Health Scotland recorded that 95.5% of the Scottish population were registered with an NHS dentist last year.

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