CDO Sara Hurley releases 2022 update for NHS dentistry
Chief dental officer Sara Hurley has unveiled the latest targets for NHS dental practices in the run up to Christmas.
Between January and March 2022, dental staff are asked to deliver 85% of their contract. This will then be restored to 100% from April.
Sara writes that practices should plan on the basis that NHS income protection ends in April 2022. They will then revert to usual contract management arrangements.
‘In November 2021, mean performance was 75% of contracted monthly UDA activity, and whilst variation continues to exist across the sector, early data suggests some contractors have delivered performance in November of above 100% of their prorated target,’ the letter reads.
‘Over a third of practices delivering 85% or more. This performance is being delivered before the changes in IPC guidance took effect, a testament to the skill of dental professionals to adapt to changing circumstances.’
For orthodontic contracts, the January to March 2022 contract requirement stands at 90%.
Patients also need to be prioritised against clinical need and the priority groups detailed in the SOP. This is regardless of whether the patient is on a practice’s business list or not.
Sara added: ‘Since the pandemic began, across the whole NHS we have pulled out all the stops to do our best by our patients. Although the recent government announcements in response to Omicron show that we are not out of the pandemic yet, substantial progress has been made in recovering a range of services, including in NHS dentistry. Your hard work is appreciated.
‘As we go onto 2022, it is clear that action must be taken to increase access and dental activity for our patients, and to safely protect the dental workforce and patients.’
In November, an updated SOP was released for dental teams, which included the introduction of a two pathway approach.
‘Wrong choice, wrong time’
The British Dental Association (BDA) slammed the decision, labelling the targets ‘unrealistic’ during the Omicron wave.
Shawn Charlwood, Chair of the British Dental Association’s general dental practice committee said: ‘These new NHS targets are the wrong choice at the wrong time.
‘The country faces a tidal wave of infection. Dentists are understandably nervous about easing restrictions, and patients are already cancelling in droves.
‘This policy might suit the treasury, but will put patients, staff, and the very sustainability of NHS dentistry at risk.’
You can read the full letter here.
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