COVID-19: Update: NHS issues long awaited details of financial settlement for practices in England

COVID-19: Update: NHS issues long awaited details of financial settlement for practices in England

For the period April 1 to June 7 there will be a 16.75% abatement of the contract value for all England practices except for those acting as Urgent Treatment Centres, who will have no abatement in view of their use of PPE. From June 8 all practices that have been able to operate will also have no abatement, subject to certain conditions outlined in the guidance.

NHS England has published the fifth in a series of regular updates to general dental practices and community dental services regarding the emerging COVID-19 situation. It gives abatement clarification, and information on contract provisions for the current post lock-down period.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0603-Dental-preparedness-letter_July-2020.pdf

The main points are:

1 April to 7 June

Non UDC practices, in recognition of the lower cost of laboratory and materials a 16.75% abatement to the total contract value across the period 1 April 2020 –7 June 2020 will be enacted through reconciliation over the period to 31 March 2021.

UDC practices NHS England have agreed that no abatement should apply to these practices.

From 8 June

There will be no abatement on all contracts and for UDC practices this will apply automatically. For non-UDC practices the following conditions will apply:

  • They must give a specific assurance that individual practices are open for face-to-face interventions, are adhering to contractual hours with reasonable staffing levels for NHS services in place and are performing the highest possible levels of activity, with no undue priority being given to private activity over NHS activity. (NHS England are working to rapidly

complete work with the BDA and the profession to have established the new mechanism for the measurement of activity, patient outcomes and quality of care provision.)

  • Accordingly, any practice not delivering the equivalent of at least 20% of usual volumes of patient care activity will be deemed to be non-compliant with the above criteria.
  • In addition, any practice that has significantly increased private practice provision at a rate that exceeds that for NHS provision while we provide this funding stability may be deemed to be non-compliant with the above criteria.
  • They will seek specific assurance from contract holders on this matter and in the event of any subsequent concerns may then carry out a spot check to provide assurance.
  • Where this assurance is not received, they will revert to operating pre-existing contract arrangements from 20 July.

Further conditions include a requirement on practices to ensure that all staff, including associates, non-clinical and others, continue to be paid at previous levels. They are therefore requiring all practices to provide assurance over their continued contracting with and employment of staff, and to confirm that through the temporary funding arrangements they have not gained any windfall profits arising from the continued NHS funding being made available to support staff and essential business overheads.

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