There is a greater shortage of doctors in areas where salaries are lower. This is why Luxembourg has an abundance of dentists, perhaps even an excess.
This according to the new President of the Medical College of Luxembourg, as stated two weeks ago in an interview with RTL.
On top of that, Dr. Robert Wagener, called for a fundamental change in the nomenclature system. This gave Annick Goerens enough of a reason to investigate the reality of the situation on the scene.
Currently, there are 759 dentists actively working in Luxembourg and in the official register. In the last 10 years (2014.2023), 37 dentists on average requested authorisation to work in Luxembourg per year. In the 10 years before that (2004-2013), on average, 15 authorisations were requested per year. Therefore, one can reasonably conclude that authorisation requests to work as a dentist in Luxembourg have hit an all-time high. Is this truly because of the current nomenclature system? We sought our answers from Vice-President of the nomenclature commission, Dr. Jean-Claude Schmit.
"The nomenclature system itself is not particularly lucrative for dentists. What Dr Wagener may be referring to is that dentists have slightly exceptional circumstances that allows them to charge for services outside of the nomenclature system, which is then at the expense of the patient. They are allowed to this on the condition that they inform their patient and provide them with an estimate. A typical example that I can give you is, for example, teeth whitening, which is very popular. This is, of course, something that is not covered by the national health insurance (CNS). This is something dentists can charge their patients separately and there are no fixed rates. The doctor can, in this instance, set their own rate. All that the nomenclature states is that the doctor should create their estimate "with tact and measure. Whatever that would mean for the given situation."
The President of the Medical College hinted that this may be the reason why many dentists from abroad settle in Luxembourg.
"Indeed we do have a range of medical practices where dentists from abroad, from Europe, work. They have the necessary qualifications and recognised diplomas, that authorises them to practice here. We are in Europe, we cannot forbid a doctor that comes from, for example, Thionville, from working in Luxembourg."
Some specialisations are indeed not compensated well enough, but those are being worked on, one specialisation at a time, according to Dr. Jean-Claude Schmitt.
Questions surrounding how the nomenclature system actually works and whether or not the nomenclature system needs a reform will be answered during the afternoon report at 12.30 PM.