Dental contract reform

Department of Health and Social Care (and later jointly with NHS England from 2013) have been testing alternatives or amendments to the current activity-based contracts and agreements since 2010 with the programme looking at both clinical and remuneration models. The programme offers opportunities to further improve oral health, reduce health inequalities and address issues with dentists’ morale, workforce retention, and patient access.

The Office of the Chief Dental Officer provides clinical leadership for the programme. The clinical aspects of the programme offer a clinical pathway which prioritises prevention and self-care in line with our long-term plan principles.

The remuneration system for prototypes offers a blended capitation and activity model which is closer to, and builds on, the 2006 contract and regulations. This combines a continuing capitation payment for prevention and a modification of the current UDA system for some, or all, ‘restorative treatment’. The prototyping has been achieved through introducing a variation to the current GDS contract or PDS agreement, covering the contract metrics.

Further information can be found on the NHS Business Services Authority website.

Joint statement with the British Dental Association on dental system reform

On Monday 29 March 2021, NHS England made the following joint statement with the British Dental Association about the work we are initiating on dental system reform:

“Today’s letter on NHS dental contract arrangements, issued jointly by Minister Jo Churchill, NHS England and the Chief Dental Officer, represents an important new chapter in progressing contract reform in England.

The commitment to pursue rapid meaningful change across the next year will be particularly valued by those working in NHS dentistry. All parties have recognised the profession is seeking faster progress on contract reform. NHS England and the British Dental Association (BDA) are optimistic that the commitments given represent a new start for system reform, with the Department of Health and Social Care having asked NHS England to lead in moving the process forward over the next 12 months and beyond.

NHS England and the BDA look forward to working together immediately and at pace to take forward system reform, exploring how we can make the joint principles set out in today’s letter work for the profession and patients. Whilst we know that contract reform is not straightforward, we hope and expect that the six aims will offer a transparent framework to enable us to develop a reformed NHS system that provides high quality patient care and an environment where professionals can work to their full potential.

We will now begin the process of developing reform and will report back progress as soon as we can.”

Issued jointly by Gabi Darby (NHS England) and Shawn Charlwood (British Dental Association)