The scarcity of NHS dentists and high costs involved in dentistry has spurred dental tourism in Britain.
A recent study conducted by the Erasmus University in Holland, reveled that the National Health Service of the UK provided the most expensive dental healthcare to British Citizens. This extensive Dutch Research is the first of its kind. It compared the cost of dental work across Europe before coming out with key findings which are likely to stimulate the ever-increasing tide of 'health tourists' traveling from Britain to other EU countries, such as Hungary, for cheaper dental care.
The study estimated that in 2006, 43 per cent of the 7,70,000 individuals who sought dental treatment from UK had to go abroad.
There was no respite from the woes that existed under previous governments for the UK patients who were unable to get NHS dental treatment in their home country despite repeated promises from the Labour government.
The Dutch study further pointed at the marked differences across nine EU countries in the price of a standard filling for a 12-year-old girl. UK tops the list with £117 with Italy following at £101 and Spain at£94. In France a standard filling costs £34 while in Germany it would cost £50. It was found that Hungary and Poland were the cheapest countries for dental care.
During March 2007 alone two million patients in UK were denied access to NHS treatment.
The researches looked at the costs of things such as drugs, material used, x-ray machines, overheads for a practice and the dentist pay.
One of the leading researchers- Siok Tan felt the drastic difference in costs were primarily to do with the ever increasing costs in certain countries. In the study he stated that, 'Labour costs were the most important cost driver in all practices, comprising 58% of total costs.' And 'Overheads costs were the second most important cost component in the majority of countries.'
Though talks of implementation of reforms in the NHS dentistry are rife in the air, there are questions as to how the NHS can improve its service. Especially as new reforms in April 2006 introduced a new payment system, which provides three basic bands of payment for dental treatment. This has come under heavy criticism by patients. Many of which feel they often ended up being charged a higher fee then they should have to pay.
With the publications of this new report, the NHS once again finds itself under heavy fire. With an everimpending money crisis the future of the NHS continues to look grim.