NHS England’s Dental Contract Reform programme is due to extend to include around 120 dental practices by the end of the 2018-19 financial year, as part of ongoing efforts that could change the way dentists are paid for the work they do.
What changes can dentists expect?
It is looking at ways to ensure that dentists are not paid solely based on the number and type of dental procedures they carry out, but are rewarded also for encouraging better ongoing oral health among their patients and reducing the frequency of appointments.
Ultimately the aim is to alter dentists’ remuneration to ensure that it rewards efficiency and positive outcomes, rather than the amount of treatment work carried out.
On March 1st NHS England published the Review for 2019 carried out by the Review Body on Doctors’ & Dentists’ Remuneration, which includes a section on the Dental Contract Reform programme.
It says: “This year, the Dental Contract Reform programme is increasing the number of dental practices in the prototype scheme; we hope to add nearly 50 more practices by the end of the 2018-19 financial year. This will mean around 120 practices will be involved, including some who were part of the pilot scheme, alongside new entrants from both ‘high street’ practices and community dental services.”
Benefits to the dental healthcare sector
Back in May, an evaluation of the first year of the prototype programme found that it is already showing promise in terms of delivering a more prevention-focused clinical pathway, rather than one that rewards treatment.
For dentists, this means that remuneration is finally working towards being more results-oriented rather than based on practical dental work carried out, and NHS England recognises that better oral health should mean less treatment and also less frequent check-ups for those who visit their dentist regularly.
With many dentists already severely over-subscribed in their local communities, this could introduce incentives to reduce patient demand by encouraging better oral healthcare at home, allowing practitioners to prioritise those with greater levels of care needs and also to welcome more new patients.
At Crawfords Accountants we welcome this move to reward dentists for promoting good oral health and relieving the pressure on their own services, and will continue to adapt our own accountancy services for dentists as required to reflect the changing nature of dentist remuneration. Contact us today for more information on our services.