Dentistry in South Africa needs your help after the COVID-19 pandemic!

Dentistry in South Africa needs your help after the COVID-19 pandemic!

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Muhammad Bobat started this petition to Medical Aid Funders and

Dear Respondent;

Dentistry in South Africa is of the same high standard as any first world country. In fact, many South African dentists will tell you they have patients who travel here from Europe, the UK and the like for our high quality affordable dental care. Our dentists are intelligent, compassionate and hard-working and they care deeply about their patients’ well-being.

Being a country of economic imbalances, many dental practices accept fees for treatment from medical aids or medical funders on behalf of their patients instead of charging patients directly. These funders decide what procedures to pay for, and how much they will pay for the procedure. Dentists must try to provide the service at a first world level for the amount provided. These fees are not decided in consultation with the dental community and they are often barely economical for dental practices. They are given arbitrary increases yearly, that do not reflect the rising costs of dental materials and expensive imported dental equipment.  These are not new issues and dentists have been complaining about these funding shortfalls for years. Medical schemes are also paying for fewer and fewer procedures and force dentists to “authorize” or request permission to perform certain procedures. If the “authorization” processes, many of which are illogical, are not followed then the medical funder may decide to not pay for the treatment. In some instances this occurs after the treatment is performed, leaving the dentist to foot the bill for any costs.

 The current COVID-19 pandemic has put an even greater strain on an already overburdened and stressed dental profession in South Africa. Certain Medical funders have not been paying dentists for the cost of sterilizing their instruments for many years yet in order for dentists to be compliant with the law they do so at their own cost anyway. However, with the current strict PPE requirements for preventing the spread of the novel Coronavirus, the PPE requirements and costs now render most dental procedures uneconomical for dentists. As an example, one major medical funder pays R24 for gloves and masks yet a surgical mask alone is R15 to R20, not including the now  mandatory face shield, goggles, double gloves as well as a surgical gown.

 Procedures that use a dental drill produce a spray of water and air called an aerosol. This aerosol is an important source of the spread of viral particles and a risk to the dentist and staff as well as patients. In fact, the guidelines currently are to avoid all aerosol generating procedures unless absolutely necessary, during the pandemic. These procedures were not well funded even before the pandemic and after the pandemic, many dentists are wondering if the added risk to their lives and that of their staff is worth the fees paid by medical funders.

 We the dental community think that this is the ideal time to force medical funders to engage with us properly. To find a sustainable model for dentistry going forward that is fair, equitable and cost appropriate.

In 2018 dentistry accounted for less than 2 percent of all the money medical providers spent on healthcare in South Africa.

This is no longer acceptable and we ask you to help us effect the change that is so desperately needed.

Thank you for signing our petition! We appreciate your support and we ask you to share this widely so that the message reaches the appropriate eyes and ears. Get your family and friends to sign and share as well. Let us make our voices heard loud and clear.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!
At 7,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!