Dental services

PCC is able to help commissioners navigate their way through commissioning and contracting matters. Support can be provided via our national training events, at local workshops or through our helpdesk facility. To support this we are placing links to some essential resources below.

Local workshops and one to one support

The dental services team can deliver a number of workshops for your organisation. If you have specific training needs you would like to discuss please contact either your local adviser or drop us a line at

One to one support or mentoring for new team members can also be provided upon request.

Training and support for commissioners

PCC’s dental team are launching their next round of training courses for commissioners.  With the current environment we have looked at our training courses and have converted these to virtual delivery.  Face to face training days will recommence when it is safe to do so but in the meantime we will be providing our support to commissioners virtually.

These training courses are available through our national events or we could provide training as a workshop to your team.  If interested in a local workshop please contact your adviser or contact us via

  • Dental commissioning – an introduction to the dental contract – a course useful to those new in the role or those looking for a refresh
  • Dental commissioning – an introduction to contract management – a course useful to those new in the role or those looking for a refresh
  • Dental commissioning – a deep dive into contractual changes – a course for both new and established contract managers
  • Dental commissioning – a deep dive into when things go wrong – a course for both new and established contract managers

More details on each of these courses including dates and booking links can be found here or via our events page.

Essential resources for dental commissioners and providers

As part of our support to commissioners and providers we are placing links to some essential resources below which PCC can help you navigate.

NHS England policy book

To support local offices in the commissioning of local dental contracts, NHS England and NHS Improvement has published a policy book for Primary Dental Services. The policy book has been created to support:

• Excellent commissioning and partnership working
• General contract management
• When things go wrong

The policies can be accessed at

Dental contract documentation

Model template documentation including the latest national variation documents is provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the latest versions of the documents can be found here:

A copy of the PDS plus agreement and all its schedules is provided.

Dental contract management handbook

Since April 2013, NHS England local offices have become responsible for the management of these local contracts. The contract management handbook can still be used by local offices to ensure quality, performance and value for money. After reviewing the content of the handbook it is clear that it still brings together the latest evidence and best practice. It provides a complete set of references and a knowledge map to the latest legislation and guidance and provides practical tools to improve contract management processes.
The dental contract management handbook was originally designed for use by PCT teams involved in the management of primary care dental contracts.

Dental commissioning guides

To support commissioners in fulfilling the commissioning obligations NHS England and NHS Improvement have released a number of commissioning guides in relation to speciality services including orthodontics, oral surgery and oral medicine and paediatric dentistry. The guides can be found at:

Dental data

NHS Business Services Authority Dental Services is responsible for paying dental contractors on behalf of NHS England. They also provide dental statistics and key information directly to contractors, through the dental portal and to NHS England and NHS Improvement teams through eDen. More information can be found at:

NHS Digital centre provides statistics on dental activity, earnings and expenses, prescribing and the NHS outcomes framework. Dental data can be accessed at:

Dental contract reform

The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently undertaking a dental contract reform programme where dental provision is looking at a preventive approach to dental care alongside registration of patients. More information can be found

Support for commissioners and providers can be found

Strategy documentation

The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided a number of documents to support the commissioning and direction of travel for NHS dentistry.

These include:

Securing Excellence in Primary Care Services, Securing Excellence in Dental Services

In June 2012 NHS England published their plan for securing excellence in primary care and followed that document in February 2014 with their plans for dental services. Both documents and other primary care resources can be accessed at

Delivering Better Oral Health edition 3, June 2014

To support the implementation of the Choosing Better Oral Health programme, the government commissioned Delivering Better Oral Health, originally published in 2007 and updated in 2009. Public Health England released the third edition in June 2014. The guidance provides evidence based interventions and new advice on how dental health professionals can improve and maintain the oral and general health of their patients.

NHS Dental Services in England

In June 2009 Professor Jimmy Steele published his independent report on NHS dental services. The recommendations within the report have helped shape the current dental contract reform programme.

A healthy foundation for contract reform

Improving access to NHS dentists and incentivising them to improve the nation’s oral health is a long-standing policy goal. At the heart of NHS England’s dental contract reform programme is a desire for better education and support for patients about how to care for their teeth and gums, and recognition that the existing dental contract, which rewards dentists for activity, does little to encourage a preventive approach to care. The goals are far-reaching: to enable a care pathway focused on prevention, maintain and improve access to dental services, and move from an activity based funding model to a hybrid based on capitation and activity.
There are currently around 100 dental practices that are testing this new way of working. During the time of the programme PCC provided operational support to the central team as well as the dental practices and their commissioners participating in the programme.

Our support ranged from practical support in running the application process for four waves of application and then the training, on boarding and continued support to dental practices and their commissioners within the programme. This training included creating legacy documents which are still available today for anyone interested in the programme as it was a key aim for PCC not just to provide immediate support but also embed the learning from the prototype practices.

David Roberts, head of dental and optical contracts at NHS England, said: “PCC have provided a consistency high standard of service without which we could not have managed the dental contract reform programme. They have gone above and beyond expectations including excellent succession planning to allow us to continue without them at the end of the contract.”

More information on the prototype programme can be found at:

Resumption of dental services

The seventh letter from NHS England and Improvement was published on 22 December 2020 and it outlines the expectations of dental practices in the last quarter of 2020/21.  It was supported by guidance which showed how the financial year 2020/21 would be reconciled at year end.

For dental practices this meant the continuation of services for both urgent and routine care. Practices were asked to work to the standard operating procedure.  Whilst practices are now available for routine care, care remains available at the Urgent Care Dental.

To support contractor and commissioner understanding of the Issue 7 preparedness and supporting guidance a year end helpdesk was set up and factual queries can be submitted to and a series of recorded webinars have been published which can be found here.

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