There are various problems associated withan open market, which would

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There are various problems associated withan open market, which would remove the NHS status of some dental patients andencouraging patients to take dental insurance. This would essentially compelmany patients to seek private dental care. There are n... There are various problems associated with an open market, which would remove the NHS status of some dental patients and encouraging patients to take dental insurance. This would essentially compel many patients to seek private dental care. There are numerous problems with the private dental sector, which include the lack of competition in the market. At the moment, there is a wide variation in cost for seemingly comparable services in a market, indicating that charges levied are not governed by the prices charged by other suppliers or by the costs of doing business, and therefore it can be concluded that the market is not subject to effective competition. This is a major problem for patients, as they are often overcharged for oral care, which could be reduced by effective competition between private dentists. Secondly, there is a lack of price transparency in the private dental market. Price transparency is essential to enable consumers to make rational choices between dentists and types of treatment on offer. It is a prerequisite for effective competition. either between private dentists or between NHS and private treatments. There is a need for further investigation into the availability of price information for private dental treatment. A Warwickshire Trading Standards Service (WTSS) survey found that only two out of 20 dental practices provided a list of prices that was made available to private patients. The relevant authorities must address this problem, in order to allow patients to have a comprehensible choice between dentists. A further problem with the private dental sector is a failure of new entry to the market for private dental provision, which could bring down prices. In many markets new entry imposes a competitive restraint on the behaviour of suppliers. However, in the private dental sector, the entry of new high street dental chains and the fact that this has not resulted in a reduction of charges or greater price transparency in private dentistry. While there has been some new entry into the sector, this has been at a time of growth in the demand for private dental treatment, which is, at least in part, related to the difficulty in some areas of the country in obtaining NHS treatment. There has also been some growth in demand for cosmetic dentistry (such as tooth whitening) and this forms a larger part of the work of some dental chains than general dentistry. Such chains may not therefore be

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