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Raising concerns about revised GDS funding arrangements

We have reiterated our misgivings about the interim financial arrangements announced by the Scottish Government for dental practices to replace the emergency Covid support payments from April.

While we acknowledge the introduction of a "multiplier" that will be applied to all NHS treatment fees, we remain strongly opposed to any prospect of a return to the pre-Covid high-volume, low-value payment system. We also have significant concerns that the planned 3-month review of the multiplier will not allow practices to plan their businesses. We are also disappointed that the Scottish Government did not take this opportunity to address the absurdly low fees for specific treatments including extractions and denture repairs.

In his letter to the Director of Primary Care, David McColl, Head of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee, made our position clear. We have called for regular and genuine negotiation with the Scottish Government as the profession adapts to the interim funding model. We remain concerned that there was no clear methodology for the new examination fee and the introduction of such a fee regardless of the complexity of the case will only serve to increase health inequalities.

We have provided the Scottish Government with examples of the impact of the latest surge in Covid cases on staff shortages and patient cancellations. In Scotland, one in 18 people have Coronavirus. This is the highest level recorded during the pandemic and we have urged the Government to delay its plans to end Covid support payments on 1 April, and reconsider once Covid numbers are under control.