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NHS dentistry - A patients' guide (Pt.1)

03 Nov 2023

3 min read

By Dr. Azim Malik
Specialist Periodontist and Implant Surgeon

Click here for part two of our two-part patients’ guide to NHS dentistry.

With NHS dentists, I think the pandemic was the breaking point.

Every single year since 2006, when the current contract was introduced, NHS dentists have been getting a pay cut because inflation has been increasing.

But the value of the Unit of Dental Activity (UDA) for the associate – not necessarily the principal – has remained the same or has only changed by £1-£2.



So every year, they were getting pay cut after pay cut and then came the pandemic when the NHS decided to limit its activity.
And, at that time, to keep up with the living costs and the lack of business, NHS dentists – many of whom were fully NHS dentists – decided to try out private avenues.

And, with these private avenues, they realised they were able to offer a much better quality of treatment, dedicate more time to their patients and communicate better with their patients.

The money side of things was much better. And the satisfaction you got was much better. It also changed the quality of patients you had.

So at this point, these dentists realised the potential of private dentistry.

Private dentistry

Many may have completely given up on the NHS and others have significantly reduced their NHS commitment with the hope of leaving the system at some point.

When I qualified in 2011, the way many people progressed was to spend up to five years in an NHS practice, building up on courses and building your skillset…

… to then to be able to start going private over another five year period…

… such that, by the end of a 10-year period you were mostly private – but you were still doing some NHS work.

And now that's changing a lot with new dentists

As soon as they’ve finished the mandatory training under the NHS, they realise it’s not where they want to be.

And they actually move to provide private work almost immediately.

White & Co. is London’s premium dental and aesthetics practice. Contact us now to make an appointment or to find out more.

Please join us next time for part two of our ultimate parents’ guide to children’s orthodontics.