New Dental Contract Helps Improve Outcomes For Patients

NHS dentists and their patients still face significant problems according to reports published today by the NHS Information Centre. The reports show that more than one million fewer patients in England have been able to access NHS dentistry since the introduction of a new contract for dentists and patient charges in April 2006. The number of patients accessing NHS dentistry in England in the 24 months prior to 31 March 2008 was 27,049,000, compared to 28,145,000 in the 24 months prior to 31 March 2006. The reports also appear to highlight changes to the type of treatments patients are receiving. 
 
Susie Sanderson, Chair of the BDA's Executive Board, said: 
 
"These reports provide further evidence of the persisting problems with the 2006 NHS dental reforms. More than a million people have now lost access to NHS dental care. Those that are able to access care are confronted with a system that discourages modern, preventive care by placing targets, rather than patients, at its heart. This is difficult for dentists, who want to focus on providing the best possible care for their patients. The apparent change in treatment patterns is also of concern and requires further investigation so that the impact of the new contract is fully understood. Such an investigation was recommended by MPs last month in the report of the Health Select Committee. 
 
For the first time, from this summer, dentists will be paid for the quality of the treatment they give rather than the number of treatments provided, Health Minister Lord Howe announced today.
 
Sixty two dental practices have been selected to trial a new dental contract that will help improve outcomes for patients. The trials are being carefully designed to improve the quality of patient care and increase access to NHS dental services with the added objective of improving the oral health of children.
 
This is part of the Coalition Government’s wider plans to modernise the NHS with a relentless focus on improving quality of care and patient outcomes.
 
The new contract will be based around capitation, registration and quality. This means that, for the first time, dentists will be rewarded for the quality of care they deliver for patients rather than the number of treatments carried out.
 
A new emphasis on quality – and guidelines on how to deliver it – will support dentists to improve the oral health of their patients, while the focus on registration will give patients the security of continuing care.
 
Three different models will be piloted across England starting in the summer. Each model will be slightly different in order to provide information and evidence on various aspects of the proposals; this will help better inform the development of the new national contract.
 
You can find more dental office supplies and dental material at ishinerdental.com.
 

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