NHS Orthodontic Transfer Information for Armed Forces and their Families

NHS Orthodontist image of a female orthodontist holding some clinical tools and smiling.

The NHS has provided information for use when patients within the armed forces community request an orthodontic case transfer either within the UK or from abroad.

It is recognised that patients receive the best treatment outcome by completing their treatment under the care of one orthodontist.

NHS Orthodontic treatment can take between 18 months to over 2 years. The average length of time of treatment is 21 months.

Orthodontists with existing NHS contracts in England can accept a patient who has moved from another part of the country (or from overseas) who is already waiting for or undergoing NHS orthodontic treatment.

Most orthodontists operate two waiting lists; one for assessment and one for treatment. The assessment appointment will determine NHS eligibility e.g. whether a patient can be treated under the NHS and prioritise clinical need.

Armed Forces Entitlement

The Armed Forces Covenant is a “promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly”.

Due to the transient nature of their role, the Armed Forces and their families should retain their relative position on any NHS waiting list if moved around the UK due to the Service Personnel being posted.

Transfers within the UK

What if I am on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment and I move home within the UK?

If a patient moves and needs to change orthodontists, the current orthodontist should discuss alternative orthodontic providers with the patient and arrange a direct referral to the preferred provider. As Armed Forces and their families should retain their relative position on the waiting list, the referring orthodontist should provide the date of the patient’s acceptance on their list to the new provider to ensure their relative position is retained.

What if I am receiving orthodontic treatment and I move home within the UK?

A patient should remain with their current orthodontist, if at all possible.

If the patient requests a transfer, the treating orthodontist should discuss alternative orthodontic providers with the patient and arrange a direct referral to the preferred provider to continue treatment.

Transfers from Abroad

General Information

Where a patient begins treatment abroad (not just EEA) and returns to the UK and is entitled to NHS care, NHS criteria is applicable and not the criteria from the country where they began treatment.  The patient should have been under 18 at the point of referral, have had an Index of Treatment Need (IOTN) of at least 3.6 and have good oral health.

Patients can find information on who currently provides dental and orthodontic treatment on the NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk). Patients can enter their postcode and the treatment they require, and a list of practices will be displayed.

Patients should contact their preferred dental practice to arrange an initial appointment and discuss a referral to an orthodontist if appropriate.

Alternatively, your GDP may refer you to an orthodontist for their clinical opinion.

I have moved to the UK and have been on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment abroad. Can I access treatment?

Follow the general information which provides advice on how to find a local NHS dentist and orthodontist.

Upon referral, if the orthodontist deems that the patient meets NHS criteria, the orthodontist will agree the appropriate waiting time based on clinical need and the need to retain the patient’s relative position on the waiting list. In order for the patient’s relative position to be retained, it would be useful for the patient to provide evidence of how long they have been waiting for treatment (e.g. date of patient acceptance on overseas waiting list).

I have moved to the UK and have been receiving orthodontic treatment. How can I continue my treatment?

Follow the general information which provides advice on how to find a local NHS dentist and orthodontist.

Patients should arrange for their original patient records including study models, radiographs, photographs and notes to be provided so that an NHS orthodontist can confirm whether they would have met  NHS criteria on their original assessment date (i.e. that they were under 18, an Index of Treatment Need (IOTN) of at least 3.6 and have good oral health).

If the orthodontist feels that the NHS criteria would have been met, a course of treatment within the NHS can continue to be provided.

If the orthodontist does not feel that the NHS criteria would have been met, or original patient records are not provided, a course of NHS treatment will not be provided.

Further information

If you have any further queries concerning orthodontic transfers, the Customer Contact Centre is the point of contact for patients and their representatives wanting information about accessing primary care (GP, dental, optical and pharmacy services).

Any queries can be directed to NHS England’s Customer Care Centre, as follows:

More on healthcare

The RAF FF’s website has additional information around healthcare and if you can’t find what you are looking for, please contact us either online or by calling 01780 781650.

Story image ©NHS

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