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Denplan welcomes Osborne’s report on empowering dental patients to make the best choices

Denplan welcomes Osborne’s report on empowering dental patients to make the best choices

Denplan, the UK’s leading dental payment plan specialist, has welcomed George Osborne’s call for clearer dental pricing and treatment plans in HM Treasury’s “A Better Deal” report, which was published this week. 

The report stated that pricing for dentistry can be opaque and confusing and that the government wants to ensure that dentist treatment plans and price lists are clear and easily accessible, empowering patients in England to make the best choices.

Roger Matthews, Chief Dental Officer at Denplan said: “Clear communication between dentists and patients is fundamental in every dental practice, especially in regards to treatment plans and pricing. We strongly agree with the Chancellor’s statement in the report that all dental patients should have access to the information they need to make the right decisions about their dental care.

“Denplan encourages all member dental practices to build in enough discussion time with their patients to allow them to explain treatment options and any associated costs. Denplan is also a co-originator and signatory of the BDA Private Dental Plans Code of Practice. The code emphasises the need to provide patients with adequate information about the choices available, work with clear and fair contracts, ensure they understand the payment procedures for each option and, where appropriate, any on-going costs or exclusions, and have in place a system for dealing with complaints and feedback.”

Denplan has a range of support services available to its member dentists and this includes providing regular guidance and materials for practices to use. Roger Matthews continued:

“Denplan member practices are able to access a price list template to ensure they are following the General Dental Council’s standards which requires practices to display their price lists. Through a network of field-based consultants across the UK (supported by an office-based team), Denplan also works continually with member practices to provide business support, which includes helping practices to set their fees fairly.”

In a 2014 Denplan patient survey of over 8,800 patients, 90% said that Denplan allows them to budget for their dental care and treatment*. Roger Matthews added: “We find that patients appreciate the clarity that comes with a dental payment plan as they prefer to know exactly what their dental care is going to cost each month without any unexpected bills.”

“Osborne’s report today should serve as a sharp reminder to all types of practices (NHS or private) on the requirement to provide patients with the most comprehensive information on treatment options and pricing. If greater transparency in this area helps patients make more informed choices about their dental care and oral health it can only be a positive step forward for dentistry.”

*Your Denplan Survey Oct-Dec 2014. Total respondents: 8,802.

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Denplan research finds dentists dissatisfied with the current NHS contract and lacking knowledge around the pilots and prototypes

Denplan has released its latest research (commissioned through Facts International), based on a survey asking NHS dentists* for their views on a variety of issues related to NHS dentistry.  The survey examined their opinions about the current contract as well as their knowledge of the pilots and prototypes.  Other key issues the NHS dentists were asked about included their confidence around NHS funding commitments filtering through to primary care dentistry, motivation levels for making changes to their practice situation and the impact of the Friends and Family Test. 

The key findings are summarised below:

Current NHS contract and prototypes


  • Nearly half the dentists (49%) are dissatisfied with working under the current NHS contract, with only 3% very satisfied and 29% saying they are fairly satisfied
  • Two thirds (65%) of dentists don’t feel very knowledgeable about the current situation regarding NHS dentistry pilots and prototypes, rating their knowledge as fair or poor
  • Three quarters (76%) agree that they are frustrated that more than four years after piloting began we are still no nearer to a final model
  • 57% of these frustrated dentists have decided on making changes to their practice in the next 12 months
  • Only 54% are aware that the pilots will soon terminate and that a number of practices will act as prototypes for the reformed NHS contracts in England.  66% of these think that it is unlikely the prototype model will free them from the UDA system


NHS funding for primary care dentistry


  • 95% of dentists are not confident that political assurances for NHS funding commitments will filter down to primary care dentistry
  • 56% think that the 2006 contract’s cap on the dental budget will not be reversed
  • 86% of dentists overwhelmingly agree they would like NHS England to state clearly what is and what is not available in NHS dentistry – just 2% disagreed


Impact of Friends and Family Test


  • 72% have commenced using the Friends and Family Test (FFT) that was introduced in April but the majority of respondents (73%)  didn’t think the FFT would be useful for either their practice or their patients


Roger Matthews, Chief Dental Officer at Denplan commented: “It is apparent from these survey results that many NHS dentists continue to feel disillusioned and frustrated with the lack of clear direction around the NHS contract changes. There also appears to be a general lack of understanding in relation to the pilots and prototype models.  With the realisation that the NHS funding situation for primary care dentistry does not look likely to improve, it is unsurprising that many NHS dentists may be feeling uncertain as to the future viability of their practice if they stay with the NHS. The result is that a significant proportion of NHS dentists are considering a change to the way they manage and fund their practice in the foreseeable future.

“Dentists appear to also be concerned about the hours it will take their practice to compile the statistics from the now mandatory Friends and Family Test, with half saying it will take their practice between 1-4 hours a month to process the results. This could add up to the equivalent of at least 6 days a year spent away from delivering patient care.”

Matthews added: “Managing the transition from NHS to private dentistry can be a daunting prospect for many dentists, but at Denplan we have a long heritage in supporting NHS dentists in making this transition, helping to ensure they retain their practice income and continue to run a successful practice in the future.   Denplan ‘Principal only Transitions’ give dentists the option to retain NHS patients whilst benefitting from all the support and experience necessary to choose the right payment plan for them, their practice and their patients.”

Denplan is running a series of seminars throughout June, entitled “Your practice, Your Choices” which will examine the upcoming changes to  NHS contracts for dentists, how dentists might be affected and help them understand what actions they need to be considering now.  For further information and to book a place practices can visit: or call 0800 169 5697.


*100 dentists responded to an online survey in April and May 2015, with all respondents holding an NHS contract in England, treating over 70% of their patient base as NHS patients.  They were not part of a corporate body or a member of a payment plan provider.

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