Private providers of dental care could “completely collapse” over the next six months unless the Government steps in to help them with financial challenges brought about by the pandemic.
That is according to the Association of Dental Groups (ADG), which has asked the Chancellor for Government support.
The ADG, whose members consist of corporate providers of NHS and private dentistry across England and Wales, said that those who perform NHS dentistry will be paid most of the cost of their contracts by the NHS.
Those who perform a mix of NHS dentistry and private practice receive some NHS support and can “furlough” their workers.
But a spokesman for the ADG said that any Government support excludes self-employed dentists in private practices who earn just over the £50,000 cap.
That means that hundreds of dental professionals from around 5,500 private practices across the country have no income.
The ADG said that those professionals also faced the “double whammy” because their dental practices have also been excluded from the business rates retail discount and grants.
According to the ADG, that has left them struggling to meet the fixed costs and leases they must continue to pay.
An ADG spokesman said: “If this part of the profession does not receive some Government aid private dental providers could effectively completely collapse over the next six months, leaving severe dental access challenges.”
ADG Chair Neil Carmichael added: “Given this was a sector already facing workforce shortages and access issues, something must be done to support self-employed dentists and private practices to weather the storm and continue to provide dentistry once non-urgent dentistry is possible again.
“A continued lack of support will have a potentially disastrous impact on the livelihoods of hundreds of clinicians and staff members working in private practices. The Government is calling upon this dentistry workforce to assist the NHS but many of the private practices that provide their employment now face collapse without further financial support.
“In the interest of the public good of sustaining access to oral health provision we have called on HM Treasury to provide support for the whole dental profession.”
Carmichael said: “If nothing changes and private dentistry is allowed to collapse, this will leave those still standing unable to cope with the demand for dental treatment and exacerbate the already perilous state dental care in the country.”