NHS dentists were traditionally paid for individual “items of treatment”: each X-ray they took resulted in a payment. In England, the number of X-rays taken in 2003/04 averaged 53.2 per 100 “courses of treatment”. Since 2006, however, NHS dentists in England have not received payments for individual X-rays, but only for completed courses of treatment. Preliminary results for 2007/08 show that the number of X-rays taken by dentists in England has decreased to 31.5 per 100 courses of treatment. In Scotland, by contrast, where the traditional method of payment for dentists continues, there has been no equivalent reduction.
Financial Times 11 April 2009