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NHS Contract changes. What they said and what they meant*

NHS Contract changes. What they said and what they meant*

Your NHS dentistry and oral health update

19 July 2022 (Issue 50)

An update from Sara Hurley and Ali Sparke

Dear Peter,

Today we have announced the outcome of the 2022/23 Dental Contract Negotiations.

Imposition really, but negotiations sounds a bit more consensual.

This represents the first significant change to the contract since its introduction in 2006. It follows 12 months of engagement with frontline dental teams,

Those of us with a military background will know what kind of engagement the DOH would like with dental teams.

the public, patients and other stakeholders after NHS England was asked by the government to lead on the next stage of dental system reform in March 2021.

If it’s taken 16 months of unprecedented pressure to get this far, a complete new contract should be ready by 2050. Twin it with Carbon zero perhaps?

The changes announced today address many of the challenges voiced by frontline dental teams and will make a real difference to patients.

We just hope that the changes announced today will get us some more positive press.


With a shift in the emphasis of financial reward and a re-orientation of clinical activity to those patients that need it most we are focussed on improving

That sounds so much better than “we have re arranged the deck-chairs”

access to NHS dental care and our support for our valued dental teams by:

Best not to define “valued” as £23 for a UDA.

‒ Introducing enhanced UDAs to support higher needs patients, recognising the range of different treatment options currently remunerated under Band 2

Replacing really perverse incentives with slightly less perverse incentives.

‒ Producing supportive material for patients, the public and dental teams around NICE recall intervals

Good luck explaining this to your regular attenders!

and introducing an extra field on the FP17 form to help peer review

Those FP17’s still look a bit empty to us.

and monitoring of adherence to personalised recall intervals.

This is how you and your core patients can pay for the changes.

‒ Establishing a new minimum indicative UDA value

To be honest, we couldn’t believe even 3% were still working for under £23 a UDA.

‒ Addressing misunderstandings around use of skill mix in NHS dental care, whilst removing some of the administrative barriers preventing dental care

professionals from operating within their full scope of practice

That spreadsheet by the intern convinced us that the Therapists can turn this around. The GDC have been doing their bit to help too. Oops.

‒ Taking steps to maximise access from existing NHS resources, including through funding practices to deliver more activity in year, where affordable

Where affordable, from a frozen budget with the highest inflation in decades.

‒ Improving information for patients by requiring more regular updating of the Directory of Services

This should reinforce the “there is no problem, just dial 111 or use the website,” answer to tricky access questions.

We are hosting a webinar to talk about the changes in more detail. This will be held on Wednesday 27 July and 6pm. You will need to register to join this webinar here.

We will try not to report any participants to the GDC this time. 

This is the start of a process to address the challenges that the dental system faces, but it does not end it.  We will move quickly to a next phase of engagement with

front-line dental teams, patients, the public and sector representatives to build on these changes and undertake further reform.

Engagement, front- line, undertake. “We come not to bury NHS dentistry…” 

We recognise these past few years have been challenging for many practices and want to also take this opportunity to thank you and your teams for your hard work and

commitment in continuing to maintain and deliver high quality care for patients.

A sense of humour remains vital.

With best wishes,


Sara and Ali

  *Green highlighted content - as imagined by a GDP who has been around the block a couple of times. The rest really is real.

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