Increase In Activity Threshold ‘Not Acceptable’ Says BDA

Increase In Activity Threshold ‘Not Acceptable’ Says BDA

The British Dental Association has told NHS England that any increase to the activity threshold for the second half of the financial year without a change in the IPC guidance and SOP, would not be acceptable.

In the report of the BDA’s latest General Dental Practice Committee meeting, Chair Dr Shawn Charlwood said, “We are continuing to meet with NHS England and the OCDO to discuss the issues related to the current contractual arrangements.”

“We have seen data on activity delivery for recent months and, while NHS England found these reassuring, we have concerns as to what they indicate for practices’ ability to meet the 60 per cent threshold.”

“If practices are behind now, we feel they will find it very challenging to make this lost ground up over the second quarter, which is dominated by the summer holidays.”

“We have also worked with the BSA to ensure that it is providing data in a more useful way to practices and activity data will shortly be available at performer level.”

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday regarding the relaxation of COVID restrictions, the BDA said on the BDA News website “We have been pressing for clarity from NHS England this week but there is no indication that there will be any immediate change in the Standard Operating Procedure.”

n the GDPC’s contractual update, Dr Charlwood outlined the BDA’s continued fight over the levels of abatement imposed on NHS practices.

He said, “We have strongly been disputing the level at which the abatement has been applied since the beginning of the year.”

“Practices are facing a range of increased costs in areas such as clinical waste that mean the 16.75 per cent is unreasonable, but we need evidence of how costs have changed to support our arguments and asked GDPC members to provide this.”

Dr Charlwood also said the GDPC is ‘Deeply concerned’ about the mental health of dentists and their teams and the problems practices face in retaining staff.

He said “There is widespread fatigue and a feeling that teams need a break. In our view, NHS England has a duty of care to the profession and the policies it puts in place must take account of our wellbeing.”

“The pressures on dental teams are leading to people leaving not just their current job, but work in dentistry altogether. There are now real issues recruiting and retaining dental nurses.”

In a meeting with the Minister responsible for dentistry, Jo Churchill, Dr Charlwood reported that members of the GDPC had “A robust conversation on ventilation funding”

Dr Charlwood highlighted the disparity in financial support between England and the rest of the UK.

He said, “Ventilation would help support the DHSC and NHS England objective of restoring activity and increasing access.”

“We had also provided the Minister with international comparisons on IPC guidance in support of our argument for a roadmap to relax the SOP.”

In his report, Dr Charlwood expressed disappointment with Director for Primary Care Strategy, Ed Waller, and England CDO Sara Hurley, for not being “Willing to engage in a realistic discussion about what NHS dentistry can do and how much the Government is willing to invest to achieve that,” at the recent national Local Dental Committee Conference.

He said the LDC conference had provide an “Important opportunity” for Mr Waller and Dr Hurley to hear “Directly from the profession.”

Dr Charlwood also reported that NHS England has been looking at the role of Dental Care Professionals within the delivery of NHS dentistry.

He said “It is clear that the UDA system did not work well for the use of DCPs, but there had been greater use in the delivery of interim care visits by prototype practices. Dental hygienist and therapist groups were keen to see a greater role for their members in NHS work.”

“We discussed the wide range of implications this would have and were clear that teamworking is welcome, but that the dentist is the leader of the dental team. Dentists are fully trained to conduct examinations and diagnoses, and should continue to play this role.”

“It is also important to maintain the ability of dentists to mix high and low intensity and complexity work to make our workloads manageable and for us not just to be left performing only the most complex treatments.”

“We are also concerned that an expanded role for DCPs could lead to downward pressure on associate incomes. We also do not believe that this was the solution to dealing with the workforce challenges facing NHS dentistry.”

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