National dental workforce collection

Classification: Official
Publication reference: PRN01136_i


  • NHS primary care dental contract holders


  • NHS England regions:
    • directors of commissioning
    • directors of primary care and public health
  • Integrated care boards:
    • primary care leads

Dear colleagues,

National dental workforce collection

We are writing to update you on the next national dental workforce collection. The next collection will open on 07 May 2024 and close at midnight on 28 May 2024. Depending on the question, the collection will be requesting data as at 31st March 2024, or the last typical, full working week (one that doesn’t include leave or a bank holiday) at the end of the reporting period.

We are collecting this data because there have been longstanding concerns about the lack of data available at a national level to understand the dental primary care workforce. Therefore, a new biannual dental workforce collection was introduced in October 2023 to be completed by all General Dental Services (GDS) contracts and Personal Dental Services (PDS) contract holders on a six-monthly basis.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all dental contractors who completed workforce collection returns across April and October 2023. We intend to publish high level findings once we have completed the analysis.

Along with the data we have also received some rich and comprehensive feedback on the process for completing the forms. This has been used to update and enhance some of the data fields. We have updated the associated guidance to support these changes, which is available on the NHS England website.

In addition to the revised guidance, we also intend to host a series of webinars that will detail the changes made to the collection forms and provide attendees an opportunity to seek further clarification if required. There are two webinars planned on the following dates. Details to register are available below:

Please note that completion of the collection remains a requirement for all GDS contracts and PDS agreements in England. Failure to complete this workforce collection will result in the issue of a remedial notice, at which point contractors will have a further 28 days to remedy the remedial notice.

A timeline for the April collection is provided in annex 1.

We understand that NHS dental services have been under considerable pressure for some time. Two years ago the NHS implemented the first reforms to dentistry in 16 years. This was followed earlier this year by the NHS and Government’s new plan to ensure easier and faster access to NHS dental care across England. But we recognise that longer term reform is needed, and this workforce data set gives us important information to understand the sector to help us take the agenda forward.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Yours sincerely,

Ali Sparke, Director for Pharmacy, Optometry, Dentistry and the NHS Standard Contract, NHS England.

Annex 1

April 2024 dental workforce collection opens – practices have 21 days to respond
7 May 2024
April 2024 dental workforce collection closes28 May 2024 (midnight)
Contractors which have not completed the April 2024 collection will receive a remedial notice within 5 working days of collection closing (practices have 28 days to remedy)4 June 2024