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Dental contract reform: a risky business?

Blog Author Henrik Overgaard Nielsen

Blog Date 08/12/2017



LDC Officials' Day is always a great place for like-minded dentists to meet and discuss issues of the day, as well as getting informed about the latest developments in dental politics.


This year, I was asked to give an update on the General Dental Practice Committee's work, and I took the opportunity to air some of our ongoing frustrations with the process of dental contract reform.


Evidence our representatives have given to us is clear: we like oral health assessments, we like pathways.


But, we don't like the business model. It is going to have to change to make contract reform work for the profession and for patients.


We feel that practices who have participated in the wave 1 and 2 prototypes have not been treated fairly and some are now facing claw black, which we were assured 'would not happen'.


Well it is happening, and we've now called for compensation.


The amount of claw back from practices has increased substantially over the years, and this is damaging practitioners' abilities to run their businesses, and treat patients.


In 2014-15, 18.2% of practices in England experienced claw back which came to a total of £52.2 million; in 2016/17 over a quarter (25.7%) faced claw back to the tune of £81.5 million.


It appears that most of this money disappears into a big black hole and is not reinvested back into dentistry.


It just makes no sense.


Delegates at LDC Conference were clear: they want to be assured that the financial risks for a new contract need to be reduced, which includes tackling the issue of low UDA values.


We await the latest evaluation of the prototypes in early 2018, from the Department of Health (DH).


News from the DH was that prototypes will now continue to run until 31 March 2020, and their Head, Helen Miscampbell, insisted at our event, that no contract would be imposed on the profession, and there would be a gradual roll out, rather than any 'big-bang'.


As we've been trying to get the dental contract reformed since 2008, I don't think anyone is expecting any fireworks, any time soon.


Henrik Overgaard NielsenHenrik Overgaard Nielsen

Chair, General Dental Practice Committee


Dental contract reform

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