A DENTIST surgery has faced criticism for charging patients up to £35 for PPE, although the practice says this is a “temporary charge” that only applies to those having new courses of private treatment.

{my}dentist, which has a practice in Western Road, contacted patients at the start of this week to inform them of changes being introduced amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It revealed it would be “using an increased level of personal protective equipment (PPE)” in line with government guidance and would therefore be introducing a “temporary Covid Safety Supplement” to be paid on each visit by patients having a private dental treatment.

The supplement will begin at £7, rising to £35 if “further enhanced PPE” is used.

One Andover patient, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Advertiser: “I just can’t believe it.”

“Straight away I’m saying, ‘hold on, you’re making a profit here’.”

“How much does PPE equipment cost? Surely not £35.”

He was also critical of the company’s policy whereby those paying a private dentistry plan would be exempt from the charges.

“So if you’ve got a dental plan, does that mean you can’t get Covid?” He asked.

“They are excluding people on dental plans while they’re trying to profit off of people for the PPE equipment.

“Surely it’s their responsibility to have the equipment, why are they charging the patients for that PPE?”

A spokesperson for the company has stressed that they are trying to be as transparent as possible in its approach and that the supplement will be reviewed “continuously” to make sure it is “as low as possible” with a view to removing eventually removing it.

The spokesperson said: “The safety of our patients and colleagues is our priority, which is why we have introduced a wide range of protective measures into our practices, including an increased level of PPE for our clinical teams.

“This advanced PPE is essential to protect the safety of all of our patients and is required by government in order for our dental practices to open. Alongside many dental providers across the country, due to the high costs of the required PPE, we have had to introduce a temporary safety supplement that will only be charged to patients starting new courses of private dental treatment.

“This supplement will not be charged to patients having NHS treatment, those with an open course of private treatment that began before lockdown, or patients paying a private dentistry plan.

“For patients who have private treatment which includes the use of certain dentistry equipment, such as a high speed drill or airscaler, which can generate a spray that contains droplets of saliva and increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission, there will be a temporary supplement charge of £35. All other patient treatments will include a temporary supplement of £7.

“We will review this safety supplement continuously to ensure it is kept as low as possible and to remove it as soon as are able to do so. We have also tried to be fully transparent in our approach so have written to all of our patients to tell them why future private treatment may cost more than usual as practices return to routine dentistry.”