Dental practices have recently come under fire for accusations of malpractice and have countered these pressures by releasing their own publication showing that four in five patients are satisfied with the service they receive from their dentists.
In May of this year, the Office of Fair Trading stated the need for urgent reform action to take place within the dentistry sector after it was noted that some dentists may be misleading dentists on what procedures were available through NHS entitlements in order book private dental work on purpose. Concerns were also raised regarding the level of information made readily available that allows patients to make educated and informed decisions about their choice of dentist and dental treatments.
The Annual Dental Survey, published in April, also agreed that dental patients were not being supplied with the correct information to make educated decisions, with no easily accessible and transparent information on treatment costs. In contrast to this, research published by the British Dental Association (BDA) this week states that four out of five patients who have seen a dentist in the last year were ‘highly satisfied’ with their treatment. Out of the 1,000 plus consumers that were surveyed who had paid for treatment, 80% revealed that they believed that the explanation of the fees and charges included were either good or very good.
Further to this, three out of five patients rated the treatment they received either as good or very good value for money. 80% of those surveyed stated that they had visited their dentist during the previous 24 month period – this is the longest period recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), with one in 15 stating that they never visited a dentist. In regard to poor practice procedures, three out of five patients stated that they knew their dental practice’s complaint procedures, however only 1% of those surveyed reported that they had made a complaint in the last two years.
Chair of the BDA Principal Executive Committee, Dr Martin Fallowfield believes that the dental profession should feel reassured with their report’s findings. The research findings are not the best they can be though and Fallowfield has warned that dental practices should not become complacent as a result. 25% of people are still not regularly attending the dentist for a variety of reasons; those numbers are substantially higher amongst lower income social groups which impacts of early detection and prevention of oral cancer and other health risks.
Gareth writes on a number of dental healthcare topics on behalf of dental plan provider AXA PPP healthcare