Home Dental ‘Could do better’ – Nigel Jones reacts to the NHS dental contract changes

‘Could do better’ – Nigel Jones reacts to the NHS dental contract changes

by adminjay

‘Could do better’ is the verdict of Practice Plan’s sales and marketing director, Nigel Jones on the NHS dental contract changes.

Overall, he feels they do not go far enough and will do little to stem the flow of dentists leaving the NHS for the less choppy waters of private practice. He does, however, acknowledge that, without additional funding, there was very little in the way of meaningful change for the many NHS dentists which could have been achieved.

He welcomes the changes to UDA bands which appear to go some way towards recognising that, in the past, remuneration for more complicated procedures has not reflected the time and effort involved.

However, although the minimum UDA value is to be welcomed, yet again it doesn’t go far enough. It fails to reflect the rising costs associated with running a dental practice.

As well as the costs of materials, salaries to recruit and retain associates and dental nurses have been increasing steadily over the past two years. Demand for their skills outstrips supply, and the £23 level will, in reality, benefit very few practices.

Small step

Although personalised recall intervals are good in theory, in practice Nigel fears they will be used as a way to increase capacity. Rather than in the best interests of patients’ oral health.

However, it could be a change that persuades patients who wish to have more regular check-ups to seek private dental care instead.

Nigel feels any gains from these changes will be marginal (at best). They are a small step in the right direction.

However, they may not be enough to give hope to NHS dentists. They are often bound to it by a combination of social conscience and fear, that genuine reform can be achieved and that remaining within it is still possible.

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