Dentists condemn VAT on life-saving equipment

Dentists condemn VAT on life-saving equipment

08 Jun 2017

Dentists, and other medical professionals, face a tax bill for installing life-saving equipment, which is expected to be in every dental practice. Charging VAT on defibrillators is unjustifiable, delegates will say at the Local Dental Committees (LDC) annual conference in Birmingham (8-9 June).

The cost of buying a defibrillator itself – around a £1,000 - is not one which dentists mind, but the additional burden of VAT on top, stretches operating budgets.

Research shows that having access to immediate CPR and defibrillation can double a person’s chances of survival when people have a major cardiac incident outside of the hospital.

When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their heart stops pumping blood around their body and they will die within minutes without treatment.
Dental leaders will also raise concerns about the lack of investment in NHS dentistry, the scandal that tooth decay still remains the number one cause for children aged five and under to be admitted to the hospital, and a crude target-driven contract that not only fails the profession but also patients most in need of treatment.

Around 200 dentists are due to attend the conference and will debate 70 topics that affect NHS dentistry.
Commenting, Alisdair McKendrick, Chair of the 2017 LDC annual conference, said: “Benjamin Franklin said the only sure things in life are death and taxes. It seems unfair that Philip Hammond wishes to impose a bill for the latter on medical professionals who are trying to avert the former.

“It is completely illogical to make foods that could contribute to having a heart attack - such as pork pies and sausage rolls  - exempt from VAT  while charging for a machine that saves lives after they’ve had one."