The evidence gathered during the market study shows that dental patients have a high level of satisfaction with the services provided by their dentist. The OFT’s report highlighted a number of concerns with both the private and NHS dental markets, and made five recommendations to address these concerns.
The Government Response to the Office of Fair Trading Market Study into Dentistry outlines the recommendations aimed at government and sets out their response. The key points from the response are that:
- the OFT acknowledges that the vast majority of patients are happy with their dental treatment and that the majority of dentists behave ethically
- the government welcomes the OFT’s recommendations to discourage and penalise the minority of dentists who mislead patients, and its proposals to improve access to dental care professionals
- action has already been taken on many of the report’s findings, particularly around increasing transparency of information for patients
- the government will investigate a range of new options in designing a new dental contract, including considering introducing the concept of ‘any qualified provider’ (AQP) into NHS dentistry.
Although the OFT’s market study covers the whole of the UK, this paper responds to recommendations only as they apply to England. Those that apply to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland are a matter for the devolved administrations.