New fee guidance welcomed by IDA

Code of practice: Display of private prices in practices

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has welcomed the publication of a new code of practice from the Dental Council on the display of private fees.

All practices in Ireland will be obliged to display any fees in a place where patients would reasonably be expected to see them prior to consultation, from 1 June. A single fee must be applied for procedures such as examinations, hygiene treatments, X-rays and prescriptions, while a range of fees can be shown for other treatments.

However, where a range is shown, a maximum and minimum fee must be clearly stated – it is not permitted to set a minimum price only.

Fintan Hourihan, Chief Executive of the IDA, said that now a code had been published all its members would be happy to display their fees in the agreed format. He also pointed to a survey by the Consumer Association that showed a distinct competition in price across the country, and he believes this will become more apparent with the fees on public display.

He said: "We would advise patients to build a relationship with their local dentist and to focus on the quality of work done and the value which it delivers rather than on superficial price comparisons."

He continued by saying that all available evidence suggests patients choose their dentist for a number of reasons such as trust, confidence in standards of hygiene and cleanliness in practice and the convenience of the location.

The dental council has also published an update to its Scope of Practice guidance and information for patients on choosing a dentist at home or abroad. The price code and the choosing a dentist information is the first time the council has issued guidance directly to patients and members of the public.

To view the guidance documents, visit http://www.dentalcouncil.ie