Dental contract reform

16 March 2018

The dental contract reform programme is currently testing a contract model that focuses on disease prevention and supports patients on a care pathway to secure improved oral health.  At the beginning of the calendar year 2018, expressions of interest were sought from NHS dental practices to join the programme and expand the learning being gleaned from the participation of the many existing practices already involved. The aim in taking on additional sites is both to increase the overall learning and to act as a dry run for any future roll out.  It is anticipated that the new practices will join the programme in the autumn of 2018.   

Underpinning this contract is a new way of delivering services that involves the patient following a care pathway prescribed by the dentist that encourages the patient to take responsibility for maintaining their own oral health but still affords them access to the full range of treatments available on the NHS as is deemed clinically appropriate.

Access to dental services in a primary care setting continues to be a priority to the government and the NHS and so the system being tested includes a financial system that focuses on two contractual measures, a) capitation and, b) activity which together are intended to provide the incentives to ensure practices will continue to attract patients and deliver the clinical pathway to within the limits their contract will allow.

Practices involved in this phase are termed “prototypes”. A full list of those practices may be viewed here.

Further information on prototyping can be found here.

To support prototype practices in implementing the required way of working the programme has developed an online resource to help business owners and their teams understand the principles of the clinical philosophy, remuneration system and the clinical and operational impact. Additionally we have included resources to assist practices to introduce changes that will help them maintain patient access to services whilst allowing healthcare professionals to work with patients to maintain or improve their oral health. 

The online resource consists of eight subject folders. Within each folder you will find information or a link to information in the form of documents, presentations, fact sheets, FAQs and or briefings to support the learning of individuals and to enable leaders within the practice to teach others to ensure that there is a good level of understanding within the practice team as a whole – each and every one has an important part to play to make prototyping a success for the practice.

It is important that the wider dental community is informed about the model of contract reform that is now being tested.  A slide presentation which may be used to share information and explain the prototype system may be viewed here.

Topics & resources Dental contract reform

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