Dentists have been warned their NHS funding will be cut if they can’t get back to 60 per cent of their pre-Covid patient numbers over spring and summer.
The British Dental Association (BDA) slammed No10’s ‘perverse’ target, 신촌역 치과 which require clinics to get closer to normal patient numbers if they want to get paid.
Social distancing will be impossible if dentists are forced back into busy timetables, they warn, putting patient and staff safety at risk from coronavirus.
But officials have said surgeries could lose two thirds or 신촌 치과 more of the funding they get from the NHS, which subsidises most patients’ treatment to make it cheaper.
They rely on this funding to stay open and to take on NHS patients, who pay less for their treatment than private customers but come in far greater numbers.
Dentists had to close for all but urgent procedures during the worst of the pandemic but are now reopening with fewer appointments so they can keep social distancing.
One in 10 clinics are already failing to hit the target of doing 45 per cent of their pre-pandemic business and will have to pay back funding after the financial year ends this week.
And more than half could be in danger of failing on the 60 per cent target later in the year and then have to give even more money back to the NHS, threatening their ability to stay open.
Dentists had to close for all but urgent procedures during the worst of the pandemic but are now reopening with fewer appointments so they can keep social distancing (stock image)
The BDA’s Shawn Charlwood said: ‘Dentists in England have been put in an invidious position.
‘Practices are already working unsustainably to try and meet perverse targets, and now hundreds face an existential threat.
‘Patients deserve to know why Whitehall accountants are being given free rein to dictate targets that fly in the face of government guidance, NHS protocols, and even clinical advice supplied to Ministers.
‘While the vaccine programme is making real headway, the restrictions we work to remain unchanged.
‘Targets have no place during a pandemic and doubling down will only leave the future of NHS services in doubt.’
The BDA said that there is no patient number target in Wales, 신촌역 치과 that Scotland’s didn’t come into force until June and Northern Ireland’s was four times lower.
But English plans could see demands to scale back up to two-thirds of pre-pandemic patient numbers starting as soon as this week and 신촌역 치과 ending in October.