From 20 January 2020 new activity from NHS England and NHS Improvement, and NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), encourages dental teams across England to support the NHS 'Check before you tick' campaign to help patients understand their eligibility for free or reduced cost NHS dental treatment.
The campaign is an extension of ongoing 'Check before you tick' prescriptions activity which launched for the first time in September 2018, helping patients to understand if they are entitled to receive free prescriptions and how to claim correctly to avoid unnecessary penalty charges.
The NHS makes checks on free and reduced cost dental claims each month; therefore, the campaign is important in helping to support dental teams to raise awareness of the need for people to check their entitlement using the NHS online eligibility checker. The eligibility checker can also let patients know about other means of support available to help them reduce the costs of dental treatment, such as the NHS Low Income Scheme.
A briefing, along with a toolkit of posters, counter cards and information booklets have been produced and sent to dental practices for use all year round to help remind patients to always 'check before you tick', using the NHS online eligibility checker. The materials and further digital resources are also available to download via the Campaign Resource Centre (https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/100-check-before-you-tick-).
The campaign focuses primarily on patients making benefit-related claims who, according to audience research, can mistakenly assume they're automatically entitled to free dental treatment and may therefore need more help understanding their eligibility. There is also low awareness that the NHS makes checks on claims for free dental treatment and can issue a penalty charge of £100 in addition to the cost of treatment to those who have claimed incorrectly.
Dental teams are being encouraged to display the materials prominently, ensure staff are familiar with the eligibility criteria, and highlight to patients to check their entitlement before completing the patient declaration form.
Information about eligibility is also available to download from https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/dont-get-caught-out-penalty-charges/check-you-tick in a number of alternative formats, including large print, easy read and BSL.
The online eligibility checker can be accessed at https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/dont-get-caught-out-penalty-charges/check-you-tick.