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NHS England: 65% activity target imposed

A 65% activity target was imposed with minutes to spare and ahead of any meaningful relaxation of COVID restrictions last week.

From 1 October, practices are obliged to meet 65% of their pre-COVID activity levels or face financial penalties. The target will remain in place until 1 January 2022.

We have pressed for restraint on targets, underlining that any significant increase will further undermine the long-term sustainability of services in England. Around a third of practices were incapable of achieving these levels in recent months. Now if practices fall below 52% they must return a substantial proportion of their NHS funding, leaving hundreds of already struggling practices at risk. Abatement will fall from 16.75% to 12.75% on undelivered contract value. While orthodontic providers will see increases of 5% to both top and bottom thresholds. However, NHS England has confirmed that foundation dentists' activity will continue to count towards a practice's overall UDA delivery during quarter three.

Members can access our advice on quarter three contracts and the side agreements for UDA and UOA contracts.

Practices are still facing major limits on capacity owing to standard operating procedures designed during the first wave of the pandemic. Approaches to ease restrictions are set to be consulted on, but there is no clarity when any changes will take effect.

Shawn Charlwood, Chair of the BDA General Dental Practice Committee said: "This service was in crisis long before COVID struck. We have pressed for restraint on targets, but we need to see real ambition on reform if this service is going to have a future."