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2019 General Elections: Labor has pledged to end its dental check-ups



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Everyone will be entitled to "free MOT teeth" in England under the Labor government, the party said.

The paper proposes to abolish dental charges, which include examination, scaling and polishing, and any X-rays that may be needed.

He believes patients are being waived – costing £ 22.70 – with many ending up in A&E.

Dental leaders welcomed the move, but said there was a shortage of dentists who needed to be addressed.

Shadow Health Secretary Athonathan Ashworth said the charges were a real barrier to access for some.

"With 135,000 patients attending A&E with dental problems each year, it's time to put prevention at the heart of our approach to health."

Labor leader erehem Corbin added: "This is the first step towards providing free services to all dental services."

Labor said the policy would cost £ 450m a year.

Health is partial, so politics only covers England. Wales and Northern Ireland have been charged with checks, but Scotland has not.

How do the charges work?

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There are three payment ranges. They are:

  • Band One (£ 22.70) – check, scale and polish and any X-rays
  • Band Two (£ 62.10) – all treatments in the range of one plus seals, extracts and root canal treatment
  • Band Three (£ 269.30) – all treatments in the range of one and two plus crowns, dentures and bridges

Low-income people, pregnant women and younger than 18 or under 19 and full-time are exempt from charges.

Almost half of the treatments delivered each year are provided free of charge.

However, the exemption system has been criticized for being too complex and accused of punishing people for wrongly seeking free dental care.

How many people go without dental care?

NHS official figures show that about half of adults have not used the NHS dentist in the last two years and about four in 10 children for the past year.

But that does not mean that everyone goes without care.

Some patients may feel that they do not have to go, while many pay to see dentists privately.

The figures also do not include those cared for by specialized community teams, such as those with mental health problems, learning disabilities and some people in nursing homes.

No data is published on the actual number of people who go unattended when they need it.

Labor cited figures suggesting that one of the five delays will take place because they cannot afford to see dentists, but that is from research a decade ago.

Will this policy solve the problem?

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In theory, free checks should make a difference. The British Dental Association points to data from Scotland, which has had free reviews since 2006, showing higher rates of NHS dental use.

BDA chairman Mick Amstrong said the exemption system is complex, so simplifying the system should encourage more people to apply for checks – though they still face the prospect of charges if they need work done.

But he also said that labor problems should be addressed if access is significantly improved.

BDA research has suggested that three-quarters of NHS dental surgeons have vacancies they are struggling to fill.

"Any plans to boost access must go hand in hand with support for a service that faces serious employment problems.

"NHS dentistry cannot be delivered without NHS dentists."


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