A research by Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has found that millions of patients every year undergo private dental treatment after receiving inaccurate information from their dentist about NHS health service claims.
The report disclosed that patients are being given inaccurate and sufficient information for them to make informed decisions about the choice of treatments and dentists.
The study also raised concerns about restrictions preventing patients from directly accessing dental care professionals, such as hygienists, without a referral from a dentist. The OFT has summoned major changes to the dentistry industry in the UK in the wake of these findings.
Referring to the findings, the OFT said, “These restrictions are unjustified and likely to reduce patient choice and dampen competition.”
“We unearthed evidence that some patients may be receiving deliberately inaccurate information about their entitlement to NHS dental treatment, and we expect to see robust action taken against such potential misconduct by dentists”, John Fingleton, chief executive of the OFT, said.
Dr Susie Sanderson, chair of the British Dental Association’s executive board, said that the General Dental Council, which is the regulator of dentistry, and research bodies have confirmed that most patients are happy with the services which they receive, further adding that, the OFT’s own research also confirms the same.
“Where patients do have concerns about their care, it is clearly important that they have an effective complaints process. This is helpful for dentists and patients alike and dentists support the goal of making the process as simple as possible”, she said.