NHS dental charges to increase from April 24, 2023 but the British Dental Association says the move is 'grotesque'
The cost of going to the dentist will increase next month under price hikes described as 'utterly grotesque' by the British Dental Association.
With charges going up by more than 8%, the BDA says it fears the changes will hit millions on modest incomes who will now think twice about seeking care.
From April 24, patients in England will be charged more money for everything from a basic check up to dentures, yet the body representing dentists says it believes none of the extra money will be invested into an already cash-strapped service.
Price increases mean the cost of a Band 1 treatment like a check-up will increase from £23.80 to £25.80. A Band 2 appointment for treatment like a filling will increase from £65.20 to £70.70, and a Band 3 treatment like new dentures will increase from £282.80 to £306.80 - an extra £24.
While a proportion of the adult population is exempt from NHS charges - the BDA says many on more modest incomes will be hit hard. And with entitlement to free care very limited - including many Universal Credit recipients not being eligible - the changes, it fears, could put off many patients going for dental treatment.
The government’s own data, adds the BDA, indicates that around one million adults declined to see an NHS dentist for cost reasons last year.
While the BDA also claims that since 2010, spending on dentistry has failed to 'keep pace' with both inflation and population growth and the UK now spends the lowest share of its health budget on dentistry of any European country while England spends the lowest amount per head of population when compared with any other nation in the UK.
Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee said next month's price hikes will fuel already widening oral health inequality.
He said: "This is an utterly grotesque display of priorities from the Treasury.
"This hike won’t put a single penny into a struggling service. Our patients are being asked to pay more simply so ministers can pay less.
"The Government did not have to go down this path during a cost-of-living crisis. This is a cold, calculated political choice, that will hit millions on modest incomes. Ministers must know some face a choice between heating, eating and seeking NHS care. And they are carrying on regardless."
Earlier this month it was also announced that patients in England will soon have to pay more for NHS prescriptions.
From April 1, the price of an NHS prescription will go up 30p from £9.35 to £9.65 for each medicine or appliance dispensed - an increase of 3.2%.
The cost of a prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC), which covers claiming multiple NHS prescriptions for a set price and for a set length of time is also going to cost more. The PPC is increasing by £1 for a three month certificate to £31.25 and by £3.50 for a 12-month certificate that will cost £111.60 from the beginning of April.
The recently introduced HRT PPC will cost £19.30 for the year from next month.
It is designed to make it easier and cheaper for women to take regular HRT medication