"Privatisation by stealth - dentists raking in £££"

About: The Eastman Dental Hospital

My dentist said I needed secondary root canal treatment or lose a back lower molar. I was told this was a specialist treatment so therefore a referral to hospital would be required but then went on to say because it was a back molar and secondary treatment that I do not fit the criteria.

It appears that the NHS yet again is rationing provisions of services that are clinically indicated.

Another example of privatisation by stealth.

The dentist then went on to say however we could treat you with the specialist in our clinic and that will cost you around £600-£1000!

And then went on to say that root canal treatment if repeated on to this tooth does not give any guarantee of success and the tooth may still be lost.

So the tooth could still be removed and then other options considered.

Then going on to say that the teeth above would press down on the gap should the tooth be removed which would cause problems with drift on the teeth above and therefore I would need to consider either having a denture, a crown on implant which would be an additional cost up to over £2000!

So not only was I told that I needed treatment I was then told that the Eastman hospital would not accept my referral because they ration services based on the criteria that excluded people that treatment was indicated by the dentist due to demand.

Then giving me options that would in total exceed up to £2000 and possibly up to £3000.

It's appears that dental health care in the UK is predicated on options that cost financially exorbitant amounts of money. The government speaks of protecting the NHS yet hospitals like Eastman introduce criteria that masks the level of demand.

This is further masked by community dentist saying that they would not refer because not fulfilling a criteria and yet further options offered on a costly private basis.

This is in an erosion of the principles of what the national health service was set up to do for ordinary people - most who cannot afford the exorbitant prices For what appears and being told is required dental health care and treatment.

I'm sure both politicians, Eastman dental hospital and local community dentists will cry that there is not a bottomless pit of resources, services need to target priority cases and they manage services within the criteria and NHS policy guidelines.

Which probably deserves a round of applause for self-justification but doesn't address the fundamental question of decisions being made that are clinically indicated and required but then refused based on financial grounds. Well done Eastman's for excluding patients, well done dentists for mopping up refused cases on a private basis and well done politicians for allowing this to happen! Oh, sorry poor patients just grit your teeth, cough up the money or suffer the consequence - after all it is only a tooth. I did request my dentist refer me and they did and no surprise Eastman Hospital refused treatment saying I do not meet the criteria.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Eastman Dental Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to feed back to us. We are very sorry to hear about your recent experience of Eastman Dental Hospital, UCLH. We would be grateful if you could contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) via pals@uclh.nhs.uk or by calling 020 3447 3042

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