Suspension on requirement for patient signature on dental forms extended

The government has confirmed that the exemption to prescription signing will be extended by three monthsThe government has confirmed that the exemption on patient prescription signing will be extended by three months. 

The Department of Health and Social Care have announced that patients will not have to sign dental forms up until 30 June 2021.

Last November, the government enforced the move in a bid to reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19.

It was initially set to last for five months up until 31 March 2021.

The measure suspends the need for patients to provide their signature on dental, prescription and ophthalmic forms.

According to the details provided last year, patients will still be required to pay the relevant charge and/or prove their eligibility for an exemption from charges.

If they qualify, contractors should mark this on the form on behalf of the patient. Additionally, where patients would usually sign the form, contractors should annotate it with ‘COVID-19′.

Existential threat

This follows the announcement that NHS dental practices will need to deliver 60% of their contracts.

From 1 April 2021, targets will increase from 45% to 60% and is set to last until 1 October 2021.

The move was slammed by the British Dental Association (BDA), which states that it exacerbates existing troubles.

‘Dentists in England have been put in an invidious position,’ said Shawn Charlwood, chair of the BDA’s general dental practice committee.

‘Practices are already working unsustainably to try and meet perverse targets, and now hundreds face an existential threat.

‘Patients deserve to know why Whitehall accountants are being given free rein to dictate targets that fly in the face of government guidance, NHS protocols, and even clinical advice supplied to ministers.’

Improve patient access

Details regarding NHS dental contract reform were also released. According to the statement, six aims need to apply for the contract reform to be possible:

  • Be designed with support from the dental profession
  • Improve oral health
  • Increase incentives to undertake preventive dentistry
  • Improve patient access to NHS care
  • Highlight that patients previously receiving NHS dental care are not having to now pay for it privately
  • Finally, be affordable within the resources made available.

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