The disintegration of NHS dentistry is speeding up, which will put pressure on private clinics as more dentists go private, driving competition up, but an upside is that it will be easier to recruit.
In the two years up to September 2017, NHS dentists saw more than half of the adult population of England, but it’s unclear how long they can keep it up.
In late September this year the BDA told the Welsh Assembly about a worsening postcode lottery for patients after £20m was pulled from local NHS dental services.
NHS Direct data shows new patients in Aberystwyth now face a 90-mile round trip. In Newtown it’s 80 miles. New patients in Cardiff can count themselves lucky, they only have to go 30 miles.
The £20m was lost over the past three years through dreaded clawback — when dentists don’t meet government targets. Clawback is a good way to kill off dental practices because it hits them at the end of the financial year and is difficult to budget for.
The Welsh government doesn’t have the appetite for reforming the NHS dental contract, so NHS dentists in Wales have nothing to look forward to. More than half, according to the BDA, are considering leaving the profession altogether.
Being typical risk averse dentists, however, most of these exhausted and demoralised sloggers will settle for going private. Many will be reliable old hands looking for associate work, a novel situation if you are recruiting.
If you are an NHS dentist looking for a better life, or a practice owner interested in landing one of these talented clinicians as they run away from their old lives, get in touch, we can put you in touch with each other.