Changes made to performance level tolerance for NHS dentistry

New changes made to NHS dental contract

NHS England has revised its performance level tolerance to ‘support the ongoing recovery of dental services’.

In a statement released yesterday, it stated that the normal contract tolerance level of 96% has been reduced to 90% for contractors delivering mandatory services. This will be for 2022/23 only.

The move was made to ‘support practices during the ongoing recovery of dental services’ and to ‘maximise access for patients’.

This means that any undelivered activity between 90 to 100% of that contracted will be carried forward into 2023/24 contract year.

Where 90% of the total annual contract activity has not been delivered, financial recovery will apply as normal.

If contractors do not wish to take up this offer they should notify their commissioner. This needs to take place within 28 days of receipt of their year-end letter.

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Struggling practices

However, the British Dental Association (BDA) warns that the move only allows for activity to be carried over, arguing that it will ‘store up’ problems for next year.

It adds that it will be a deferred problem for those many practices unable to significantly increase their activity this year.

Shawn Charlwood is chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee. He said: ‘With record breaking sums set to be lost from the frontline, the government has moved the goalposts.

‘It will come too late for the dentists that have already called time on NHS work. And it won’t be enough for the hundreds about to be pushed to the brink. Ultimately this will only delay the inevitable for countless struggling practices.

‘What we are yet to see is a willingness to put these funds to work, making NHS dentistry sustainable. That should form the basis of any credible rescue plan.’

You can read the full letter here.

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