Extra PPE Charges At Jersey Dentists

Jersey Dentists have defended charging patients extra for the personal protective equipment required to re-open.

Islanders have reported being charged up to £30 on top of their treatment costs to cover gloves, masks and visors.

Some patients took to social media to discuss the additional fees, with vary between practices.  

Several said between £8.50 and £10 had been added to their bill, while others said the charge had been £30.  Many questioned the extra fee when dentists needed to use PPE prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dental practices were permitted to reopen earlier this month for urgent and emergency treatment, and allowed to resume routine care last Friday.

The Jersey Dental Association says the decision to charge for PPE lies with individual practices but warns they have had to pay inflated costs to get in supplies such as gloves and masks.

The JDA says larger surgeries haven't been as badly affected, as they're able to buy in bulk and secure a better deal.

A statement to Channel 103 says:

"The use of enhanced PPE is for the protection of both patients and staff, when certain procedures are being carried out.  It is true to say that dentists have always used PPE such as gloves & masks, however - in some cases we now have also to wear gowns as well as enhanced masks (N95/FFP 2 rather than a normal surgical mask)  The cost & availability of all PPE has changed markedly.  For instance a box of surgical masks that used to cost £5 now costs £50.  We are having to pay a premium for things that used to cost us very little as well as having to, in some cases, use much more PPE."

Stuart Burgher from the JDA says they couldn't encourage members to adopt uniform charges - as doing so would fall foul of the island's price-fixing rules.

"At the end of the day the decision to charge for PPE is down to each individual practice....but patients should be made aware if there is a charge for PPE and how much it will be.  Unfortunately, sometimes the dentist can only tell you definitely once they have assessed what treatment is actually required."

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