The College has responded to changes to the NHS England dental contract announced by the Chief Dental Officer for England, Sara Hurley FCGDent.
Dental therapists will soon be able to accept patients for NHS treatments, providing fillings, sealants and preventative care for adults and children. Providers will also be able to claim for five Units of Dental Activity (UDAs), rather than three at present, where a patient requires filling or extraction of three or more teeth in a course of treatment and/or non-molar endodontic care to permanent teeth, and seven UDAs for a course of treatment requiring the provision of molar endodontic care to permanent teeth. In addition, practices may be able to increase their NHS activity by up to 10% beyond their contracted amount if local dental funding is underspent.
Responding to the announcement, Abhi Pal FCGDent, President of the College of General Dentistry, said:
“While the NHS dental contract in England still needs wider and more fundamental reform, we welcome these changes – the first in 16 years – as positive and significant improvements.
“In particular, we have previously called for the removal of unnecessary restrictions on the roles played by members of the wider dental team, and are pleased to see that steps will be soon taken in this direction. The College believes that greater recognition and use within NHS dentistry of the full range of skills of all team members will benefit patients, enable the delivery of more preventative care, and support professional satisfaction and staff retention.
“We have also said that while truly universal access to NHS dentistry can only be achieved with greater funding, access can still be improved through better allocation of existing resources. We therefore welcome the direction of more resource to the treatment of patients with greater needs, as well as the potential for practices to deliver additional care so that all funding allocated to dentistry is used for its intended purpose.”