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Changes made to multiplier

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf, has issued a letter this morning.

The letter will update NHS dental teams about the immediate next steps for the multiplier and how long-term contractual reform will include a wider engagement programme in the future.

The letter confirms that after considering a range of factors including IPC constraints, levels of activity, and affordability the multiplier is being reduced from 1.7 to 1.3 for the next three months. The change to the multiplier may mean that some procedures are no longer financially viable.

As the sector moves forward from the pandemic, the multiplier will continue to be reviewed on a regular basis. The arrangement will be looked at again in advance of the October/paid November schedule, with the Cabinet Secretary stating the intention to inform the profession of any changes in advance.

David McColl, Chair of the British Dental Association's Scottish Dental Practice Committee said: "Ministers are playing with fire, pulling away the life support from a service millions depend on.

"This multiplier helped ensure NHS dentists received fees for care that actually covered their costs. Slashing them will leave colleagues churning out dentures at a loss while thinking twice about their future.

"Scotland has already lost too many NHS dentists since lockdown. Ministers are now blindly heading down the path the Westminster Government has chosen, which has sparked an exodus.

"Cuts have consequences. The Scottish Government promised free NHS dentistry for all. Short sighted policies like this will likely result in the exact opposite, and stark oral health inequalities will only widen further."

Earlier this month we wrote to the Scottish Government, urging them to maintain the Item of Service multiplier at 1.7. We have received a response to this letter from Chief Dental Officer, Tom Ferris. The letter states an intention to build a national consensus on reform and to work together towards a contract that works for everyone.

To support the reform process, the Scottish Government have issued a survey link to gather information and your comments on a list of possible treatments for inclusion in a future NHS model. We have argued that budgetary issues should be considered in tandem with the contractual reform process.

We will keep you informed of any developments as changes are made to the multiplier and throughout the upcoming reform process.