Pilots mean longer hours for less pay


Speaking at the Westminster Health forum, Safeer Butt, who runs two new contract pilots, said that his associates were having to work longer hours for less pay,  He said that in a fixed-cost system, someone had to take a pay cut.  Despite this John Milne, chair of the BDA's General Dental Practice Committee continues to view the pilots ‘in a positive light'.



Safeer Butt, who runs three South London practices with NHS contracts in excess of £1.5million  said he had ‘mixed feelings' over his experience of the pilots.The oral health  assessments were taking a long time and his waiting list had grown. He revealed that he had been subject to clawback. He had been penalised for not seeing enough patients.

His patients had welcomed being able to spend more time with their dentist. He needed more staff to meet the demand and told his team they would have to take a pay cut and work harder. However he believed that the contract will work but said there needed to be more money, especially when assessments had to be doen on every patient.

Justin Ash, chief executive of Oasis, which sponsored the meeting and Eddie Coyle, head of clinical services and commissioning also said that assessments were taking longer but that oral health was improving. Examinations and restorations were down, but preventive measures had increased by 50%. Oasis remains positive about the direction of travel. However he called for extra investment and said that the skill mix would alter.

John Milne, said that honesty was needed in the debate and that Government must give clarity on what it is prepared to provide in terms of access and levels of care. He said that a big challenge remained regarding what is clinically needed for patients and what the Government can resource. He said there was a growing consensus that the contract would be better for patients, but the need for more care for the ‘heavy metal generation’ must be recognised and funded.

Replying to the debate CDO Barry Cockcroft acknowledged that there had been initial problems with the software and that oral health assessments had led to longer waiting times. But he said the pilots were there to identify problems such as these and find solutions.


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