The NHS is responsible for assessing, arranging and funding a wide range of services to meet the health care needs of the population both in the short and long term. Some people need care over an extended period of time to address physical and/or mental health needs caused by disability, accident or illness. These services are normally provided free of charge.
Local authorities also provide a range of services to support their local population including people who require extended care. These services include accommodation, education, personal and social care, leisure and other services. Local authorities must charge for residential care and may charge for other care services subject to guidance or regulation by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Dentists whose work concentrates on children and charge-exempt adult patients may be eligible to access some additional funding that recognises their commitment to the NHS, it was announced recently. Scottish Government proposals to change the way dentists' commitment to the NHS is recognised were endorsed by a vote of the BDA's Scottish Dental Practice Committee (SDPC). The change comes after sustained BDA campaigning.
As a result of the changes, practices which treat high numbers of exempt patients may have part of their rent reimbursed on a sliding scale and could be eligible for an enhancement of their General Dental Practice Allowance (GDPA) payments. Under the current arrangements, some practices are ineligible for both enhanced GDPA payments and any rent reimbursement. An extra degree of flexibility is also being introduced for committed practices.
Campaigning by the BDA highlighted the unfairness of the criteria for the definition of commitment imposed in October 2005 under which approximately one-third of practices providing NHS care were not eligible to benefit from the current arrangements.
1. Patients who are exempt from NHS dental charges include those aged 18 who are in full-time education, those in receipt of certain benefits including income support or job seekers allowance, holders of exemption certificates and those who are pregnant or who have had a baby in the previous 12 months.
2. The British Dental Association (BDA) is the professional association for dentists in the UK. It represents over 20,000 dentists working in general practice, in community and hospital settings, in academia and research, and in the armed forces.