Could coronavirus crisis force some dental practices to shut down for good?
THE extended lockdown on dental practices threatens a further serious long-term impact – the loss of thousands of UK dental practices. Government rules on compensation have left nearly all of them without financial support.
According to the British Dental Association, dentists are among the only businesses on the High Street that are not offered full relief from having to pay business rates.
"Private practice accounts for more than half of the £7.8 billion spent each year on dentistry, and much of that money is used to subsidise NHS work," says Ashley Dé, of the British Dental Association. "If private dentistry is left to collapse – which looks very possible at present – this will have a disastrous effect on the overall provision of care to patients."
Government figures from last year indicate that more than 1.4 million adult patients had tried and failed to access dental care. Such concerns have led more than 1,000 private dental practices in the UK and Ireland to set up the lobbying organisation Pandora Dental.
Dr Mark Cronshaw, a dental surgeon and president of Pandora, says: "The earliest that dental practices could resume normal service appears to be early July – the same time as hairdressers."
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