Section 125 of the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006 provides that the Welsh Ministers may make regulations to provide for the making and recovery of charges for ‘relevant dental services’. ‘Relevant dental services’ are dental services provided directly by the LHB, under a General Dental Services contract or under a Personal Dental Services contract, and the supply of dentures and other dental appliances under NHSWA 2006.
The regulations may in particular include provision:
- specifying the amount, or maximum amount, of any charge,
- for calculating the amount of any charge,
- for the variation of the amount, or maximum amount, of any charge in cases of a prescribed description,
- for any charge not to be payable in particular cases,
- for power to direct that a charge is not payable in a particular case,
- for the repayment of any charge.
Regulations under section 125(1) may provide for sums which would otherwise be payable by a LHB or Special Health Authority to persons providing relevant dental services to be reduced by the amount of the charges authorised by the regulations.
Section 126 provides that no charge may be made under regulations made under section 125 in respect of a dental service provided for any person who at the prescribed time:
- was under 18,
- was under 19 and receiving qualifying full-time education,
- was pregnant, or
- had given birth to a child within the previous 12 months.
Section 126 further provides that no charge may be made under regulations made under section 125 in respect of the repair or replacement of any appliance, for any appliance applied to a patient resident in hospital, or in respect of the arrest of bleeding.
The National Health Service (Dental Charges) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/491) have effect as if made under section 125 of NHSWA 2006. The regulations provide for the making and recovery of charges for the provision of dental treatment and the supply of dental appliances under NHSWA 2006. They provide for charges for:
- the provision of dental treatment, including urgent treatment and orthodontic treatment, and the supply of dental and orthodontic appliances by the provider of primary dental services,
- the supply of dental appliances under NHSWA 2006 otherwise than by a provider of relevant primary dental services,
- the replacement, as part of relevant primary dental services, of a dental or orthodontic appliance lost or damaged by an act or omission of the patient.
Regulation 3(2) sets out a number of circumstances in which no charge may be made for the provision of dental services under NHSWA 2006. Regulation 4 sets out the applicable charges and the system for calculating those charges. Regulation 5 provides that only one charge may be made and recovered even if the treatment or appliances were provided by more than one provider. Regulation 8 provides for the procedure for making and recovering charges due under the regulations. Regulation 12 provides for a reduction in the remuneration of a provider of primary dental services by the amount of the charges payable under the regulations.
Finally, section 141(1) of NHSWA 2006 provides that the Welsh Ministers may make regulations to provide that where a person fails to pay any amount recoverable from him or her for services provided under NHSWA 2006, a penalty notice may be served on that person. The remainder of section 141 provides further detail on the regulations that the Welsh Ministers may make in relation to the procedure to be followed once the penalty notice has been served.
The National Health Service (Penalty Charge) (Wales) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/1300) have effect as if made under section 141 of NHSWA 2006. They apply to charges for dental services and provide for a civil penalty to be imposed where a person wrongly fails to pay an NHS charge.