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Dentists quit after new contract

More than 1,600 dentists in England quit the NHS in the first three months since a new contract was introduced, according to official figures.

NHS Information Centre statistics show the number of contracted dentists fell from 21,111 to 19,462 on 30 June.

Dental Practitioners Association (DPA) chief executive Derek Watson said the contract was "inflexible and unfair".

The Department of Health said more NHS dentist services were being undertaken than under the old contract.

The figures drawn from reports issued on Monday and in August show a 1,649 decline in dentists with a contract to work in the NHS, which represents a fall of nearly 8%.

Mr Watson said: "We forecast it would make things worse and regrettably, it looks like we were right.

"Although the report tries to cover up the exodus by claiming figures from two reports released within 50 days of each other are not compatible, a dentist with an NHS contract is a dentist with an NHS contract whichever way you count them."

He said less dentists would mean the problem of access to NHS dental treatment would become worse.

'Target-driven'

Lester Ellman, chairman of the British Dental Association's (BDA) general dental practice committee, said: "At a time when the government are trying to increase access to NHS dentistry, the loss of any dentist to the service has an impact.

"Dentists are frustrated by the target-driven approach of the new contract, which fails to allow a more preventative approach ... continue > 


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Published: 10 October 2006      Ref: BBC News

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