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Health Health

Reform NHS Dentistry contracts

Last updated: 06:36pm 4 May 2019

…and reform contracts so that we pay for better outcomes, particularly for deprived children.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.68

Our verdict

Dentistry is one of the few health services for which patients have to pay a contribution in the UK. Dental contracts regulate dentists’ remuneration and the level of service patients should expect. In 2016, the then government began piloting a new type of dental contract, the Dental Prototype Agreement Scheme, which is a new system based on prevention. This policy is a pledge to extend the reform of dentistry contracts.

In May 2018, the government published a report evaluating the dental contracts schemes piloted in 2016-17, revealing that the new approach helped in reducing tooth decay and gum disease, with 97% of patients satisfied with the care received. The report also recommended introducing “a form of weighting that supports the objectives of ensuring equitable access for patients”, which would go some way towards meeting the aim of “better outcomes, particularly for deprived children”.

In July 2108, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that, by October 2018, 50 new practices in England would join the pilot scheme.

The government is set to pilot reformed dentistry contracts on a larger scale, so this policy is ‘in progress’. It will move to ‘done’ when the reformed dentistry contracts are introduced at a national level and there is evidence of widespread improved outcomes for patients, particularly deprived children. Follow this policy for updates.

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