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An investigation has revealed that fraudulent claims by NHS dentists had cost taxpayers over £73million in just one year.

Date: (8 May 2012)    |    

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An estimate says that between 2009 and 2010 there were one million false claims for treatment of NHS patients by dentists.
Ministers blamed the fraud on Labour’s dental contract, introduced in 2006, which created a banding system allowing dentists to make claims for more expensive treatment than the work they carried out
Dentists no longer claim for specific work such as a filling or crown, but lump treatments together, some of which are never delivered.
The watchdog organisation NHS Protect warned that if the level of fraud in 2009/10 was replicated until 2014, it would cost the taxpayer a further £146.4million. Even if the five other years are excluded since the contract began.
Investigators estimated that another £5.3million could have been lost in 2009/10 in cases they were unable to examine fully.
Some 10 per cent of fraudulent claims were for ‘ghost patients’ clients who did not exist. One claim was for a patient who was in prison at the time.
Health minister Lord Howe said that the taxpayers will rightly be shocked at the £70million price tag they were paying for Labour’s substandard management of NHS dentistry. This was money that should be spent on patients.
He said new dental contract would be introduced across the country, which will tackle this issue by streamlining and simplifying how NHS dentistry was paid for. Until then, the government was not going to tolerate any kind of fraud that was uncovered.
.The Government is trialing a new dental contract that rewards dentists for the quality of care they deliver, not just the volume of work carried out.
Under health reforms, responsibility for NHS high street dentistry will be passed to a single organisation, the NHS Commissioning Board, instead of 152 Primary Care Trusts. Officials believe this will make it easier to uncover fraud, as well as reducing administration costs.