We cannot say for sure as everything is hypothetical, but one of the major impacts we could foresee would be a change in where dentists working within the UK come from.
There are over 40,000 registered dentists in the UK and of this 17 per cent, almost 7,000, are trained outside the UK in the European Economic Area2. This is a huge proportion of working dentists that may not be able to be filled with UK dentists in the short term. One thing which may happen is following similar employment criteria as the Australian or Swiss points method which assesses the skills of worker and see's if it is beneficial for them to work in the UK.
A negative impact to leaving the EU may be a reduction in access to NHS dentistry, if overseas dentists practicing in the UK are required to leave or staffing levels fall short due to a lack of quality dentists entering the country. But I initially would expect nothing to happen and a grand fathering clause.
An issue that often goes unacknowledged is that regarding the possibility, though remote, of returning expats. According to the United Nations there are approximately 1.3 million British expats currently living in the EU3.
Some sources suggest expats could be barred from EU healthcare if the UK leave, and they may be forced to return to the UK for healthcare treatment, if this turns out to be the case what are their dental needs?
Potentially these could be very high due to their age, i.e. an increase in the heavy metal generation (those aged between 30 and 65 who have retained much of their natural dentition but with high levels of dental disease treated by fillings and other restorations), and the level of care they have received in other countries.
From an industry perspective there could potentially be an increase cost for dental materials, which are often manufactured abroad. This puts a real strain on dental services and a possibility of passing on some portion of this cost onto the patient.
Our NHS Dentist in Liverpool will continue to deliver a high standard of care to our NHS patients. We are still registering new NHS patients, and did you know that we offer Saturday morning appointments for our NHS patients and our Private patients. If you would like to register at our NHS Dentist in Liverpool, please click here.