NHS England Widely Criticised For Targets

NHS England Widely Criticised For Targets

The late announcement of the new NHS contract targets for the next six months has been met with widespread condemnation from members of the profession.

NHS England’s 60% UDA target in order for practices to achieve full contract value, drew criticism from the British Dental Association, as did the long wait dentists had to endure before being told what is expected of them.

Chief Executive of the BDA, Martin Woodrow said in a video address on the organisation’s website  “It’s clearly unacceptable for information to be landing so close to the wire.”  He called it “disrespectful to the profession.” He said it  “causes huge problems for businesses trying to plan.”

The BDA argued that a 60% threshold to achieve full contract payment is ‘unreasonable.’  Mr Woodrow said the targets would put practices in an “invidious position.” He called the increase in orthodontic threshold from 70% to 80%, “massively demanding.”

He said that nothing has changed in terms of the constraints that practices have to work under with regard to fallow times and social distancing.  “A high UDA or UOA target will continue to distort priorities” he said.  “It’s not consistent with the clinical approach set out in the standard operating procedure.”

More than half of England’s practices were unable to reach 60% of UDA’s in February. More than one in ten  practices didn’t get to the 36% threshold.

He called it “a real threat to the viability of some practices.”

On Twitter, dental professionals were vociferous in their condemnation of the wait for NHS England’s announcement on contract targets.

One user called the wait “A total disgrace,” while another said “10 years for contract reform decisions are obviously not enough. Hopefully they have done at least 60% of paperwork in 10 years.”

Another dental professional called for “Mass resignations” on the announcement of the new target.

The BDA convinced NHS England of the need for practices to have ‘certainty,’ and secured the six-month fixed target period.

The letter on NHS dental contract arrangements released by Health Minister Jo Churchill, NHS England and the Chief Dental Officer Sara Hurley, “represents an important new chapter in progressing contract reform in England,” said Gabi Darby of NHS England and Shawn Charlwood, Chair or the GDPC.

The letter said “The commitment to pursue rapid meaningful change across the next year will be particularly valued by those working in NHS dentistry. All parties have recognised the profession is seeking faster progress on contract reform.”

“NHS England and the BDA look forward to working together immediately and at  pace to take forward system reform.”

The letter said contract changes must be designed with the support of the profession, improve oral health outcomes, increase incentives to undertake preventive dentistry and improve patient access to NHS care.  The letter said other inclusions in contract reform must include provisions that dentists should demonstrate that patients are not having to pay privately for dental care that was previously commissioned by NHS dental care, and be affordable within NHS resources, taking into account dental charge income.

                                                     

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