NHS England announce targets and contract updates (Last update: 31.03.21)

Dementia Care
April 1, 2021

UDA and UOA Targets

NHS England has finally told NHS dental practices the targets they will face from April 1st, ending weeks of financial uncertainty.

In a letter sent out to all NHS primary care dental contract holders, NHS England has revealed that in February, mean performance was 59% of contracted Units of Dental Activity (UDAs), so to maximise patient access they are only asking practices to keep up this momentum. Contracts remain in place for normal levels of activity but claw-back will not be applied to practices delivering at least 60% of contracted UDAs and 80% of UOAs (with normal tolerances applying in addition). To provide a longer-term guide, the arrangements are expected to last for the first six months of 2021/22.

The letter said clawback tolerance will remain at 96% for annual deemed activity.

Contract reform

NHS England has made the following joint statement with the British Dental Association about the work they are initiating on dental system reform:

“Today’s letter on NHS dental contract arrangements, issued jointly by Minister Jo Churchill, NHS England and the Chief Dental Officer represents an important new chapter in progressing contract reform in England.

The commitment to pursue rapid meaningful change across the next year will be particularly valued by those working in NHS dentistry. All parties have recognised the profession is seeking faster progress on contract reform. NHS England and the British Dental Association are optimistic that the commitments given represent a new start for system reform, with DHSC having asked NHS England to lead in moving the process forward over the next 12 months and beyond.

NHS England and the BDA look forward to working together immediately and at pace to take forward system reform, exploring how we can make the joint principles set out in today’s letter work for the profession and patients. Whilst we know that contract reform is not straightforward, we hope and expect that the 6 aims will offer a transparent framework to enable us to develop a reformed NHS system that provides high-quality patient care and an environment where professionals can work to their full potential.

We will now begin the process of developing reform and will report back progress as soon as we can.”

As NHS England takes a lead on this process, they are sharing the following 6 aims which will apply to contract changes. These will bring focus and transparency to their work.

Contract changes must:

  • Be designed with and enjoy the support of the profession
  • Improve oral health outcomes (or, where sufficient data is not yet available, credibly be on track to do so)
  • Increase incentives to undertake preventive dentistry, prioritise evidence-based care for patients with the most needs and reduce incentives to deliver care that is of low clinical value
  • Improve patient access to NHS care, with a specific focus on addressing inequalities, particularly deprivation and ethnicity
  • Demonstrate that patients are not having to pay privately for dental care that was previously commissioned NHS dental care
  • Be affordable within NHS resources made available by Government, including taking account of dental charge income

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