Nigel Jones reacts to the new UDA targets

Nigel Jones shares his views on the latest UDA targets put in place by NHS England.

It’s now business as usual for dentists in England, according to the new targets published recently. The withdrawal of the additional Covid infection prevention and control (IPC) measures opened the door for the Department for Health and Social Care to remove any concessions to NHS dentists in relation to their activity targets and return them to 100% again.

However, as Practice Plan sales and marketing director, Nigel Jones relates in this short video, the virus is still with us. And cases are rising. Put in this context, he feels the expectation for practices to hit 100% of target is, in his words ‘ambitious’.

Nigel also turns his attention to the announcement about changes to contracts. These are characterised as ‘quick wins’ rather than meaningful contract reform. This is expected before the parliamentary recess at the end of July.

No end in sight

Changes such as further prioritisation of children and vulnerable adults, and amendments to the UDA banding to encourage treatment of people with high needs, have been hinted at along with the suggestion that ‘the worried well’ may be discouraged from visiting their dentists less frequently. Moves which appear to be more about making the shrinking pot of money go further than considering patient care.

As Nigel says, it has been made clear there will be no additional funding for NHS dentistry. The fundamental changes needed for it to be attractive to associate dentists does not appear to be forthcoming.

Add in the return to 100% activity targets, and there appears to be no end in sight to the recruitment and retention crisis for NHS dentists. Indeed, it will only strengthen the case of associates putting pressure on their principals to convert to private practice.

As the Chinese curse says: we live in ‘interesting times’.

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