Nigel Jones’ overview of the dental landscape

Nigel Jones gives his views on the dental landscape after NHS England waited until the 5 April to give dentists their 2022/23 targets.

The wait for the issuing of new targets from NHS England seemed endless.

Very few members of the profession failed to notice the irony that by 1 April, the date when the new targets were supposed to take effect, nothing appeared.

Having to wait until the 5 April left dentists’ patience paper thin.

Pull a rabbit out of the hat

Practice Plan Group’s sales and marketing director, Nigel Jones, is one of those who feels the timing of the letter sent a message, deliberate or otherwise, about the empathy shown by the Department for Health and Social Care to dentists right now.

‘If you genuinely want people to remain within the NHS as dentists, you simply don’t treat them in the way that you are’ he says.

The content of the letter itself appears to do very little to pour oil on troubled waters, either.

Its lack of clarity over certain details such as whether any shortfall in the Q1 targets can be made up over the rest of the year, is seen as a major omission.

There’s a feeling of ‘smoke and mirrors’ surrounding the targets themselves, too.

Although published as 95%, when bank holidays are factored in (five in this quarter), one owner of a large NHS practice has calculated the actual target to be 101%. And that’s without taking into account the effect IPC procedures needed to cope with spikes in Covid cases have upon productivity.

Add to this the deafening silence about the new contracts and the recruitment crisis. According to Nigel, it adds up to the perfect time for practices to leave the NHS and go private.

As he says, the NHS is really going to have to pull a rabbit out of the hat quickly. Particularly if it’s going to stop the haemorrhaging of dental talent from NHS dentistry.


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