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Important Updates (February 2024)

                                      NHS Dental Recovery Plan

From Shawn Charlwood (Chair GDPC) :

You will have seen the news trailing proposals that will be in the Dental Recovery Plan to be announced by the Health Secretary. 

We understand that the plan will set out:

  • An increase in the minimum UDA value to £28

  • A new patient payment - £15 for those needing band 1 and £50 where they need band 2 or 3

  • An expansion of the existing golden hello scheme - giving £20,000 over three years to those willing to work in identified blackspots

There will also be proposals on an early years prevention scheme and dental vans, although there are few details on these as yet. There are vague commitments to a 'ringfence' on funding for next year.


It is clear that this plan falls short of delivering a recovery for NHS dentistry. There is not the commitment to fundamental reform that we all know is necessary to turn the ship around. A plan that funds new patient payments out of the existing budget is not going to meet the Government's stated ambition for an NHS dental service for all who need it.

We needed to see far more than what it appears will be on offer. 

That the Government has even brought forward this plan is a testament to our collective effort as a profession to ensure that Ministers can't get away with allowing NHS dentistry to wither on the vine. We are going to have to keep up that effort and today we're joining forces with the Daily Mirror and campaign group 38 Degrees to launch a petition calling for the Government to take the real action that is needed to rescue NHS dentistry. Please sign this petition and share it with colleagues and patients.




        LDC Meeting Monday 4th March (6.30pm) at Chelmsford Golf Club

Updates on the Dental Recovery Plan will be given by David Barter (Head of Commissioning MSE ICB), Michelle Campbell (Head of Primary Care Contracting HWE ICB) and Greg Brown (Senior Performance Improvement Manager SNEE ICB).

Michelle Campbell has emailed:

Greg Brown has emailed:

I will  give a high level overview of our Dental Development Plan (link below). We are looking to share and get feedback from anyone, so think it would be a good opportunity, the below is still in draft, but mostly what we plan to do in the next few years!

The Agenda can be accessed here.



In case you have not seen it, here is the official notification


                               NHS dentistry and oral health update

                           Plan to recover and reform NHS dentistry


Today, we have published the joint NHS and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) plan to recover and reform NHS dentistry. 

NHS dental teams have been working hard to meet rising demand and although we have seen steady improvements in access, we know we need to do more.

The changes we have announced today build on the first reforms to the dental contract in 15 years that we announced in July 2022 and this plan is an important next step in improving patient access to NHS dental care and supporting dental services to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity. 

Measures include:

·       NHS dentists will be given a ‘new patient’ payment of between £15-£50 (depending on treatment need) to treat patients who have not seen an NHS dentist in two years or more. This premium is in addition to the funding the practice would already receive for the course of treatment. Additional payments will begin from March 2024 and is time limited to end of financial year 2024/2025.

·       targeted funding to encourage dentists to work in areas which historically have been difficult to recruit to

·       a further increase in the minimum indicative UDA value from the £23 announced in July 2022 to £28 from April 2024

·       improving access in underserved areas through the use of dental vans

In addition to these activities, the plan announces a range of government-delivered public health initiatives to improve the oral health of children and recommits to the workforce growth and development outlined in the Long Term Workforce Plan.

Importantly, the plan also commits the government and NHS England to bringing forward option for the next stage of dental contract reform for consultation later this year. We look forward to continuing to work with you to improve access to dentistry for our patients.

Thank you for your ongoing effort and support.

Resources to support personalised recall and skill mix in primary dental care

Skill- Mix:

The letter of July 2022 describing the outcomes from 22/23 contract negotiations NHSE outlined steps to promote more effective use of skill mix in primary dental care.

New resources to communicate skill-mix to patients are available on the campaign resource centre here


New materials to help dental teams explain check-up recall intervals to patients, are now available to download from the campaigns resource centre

Two case studies have been produced to support staff with the implementation of the NICE recall guidelines.



                                     A message from the BDA

We have been working with the Daily Mirror on a national campaign they have launched on reform of NHS dentistry, which is closely echoing GDPC’s policy position. 

We have passed them intel on clusters of deaths in the North of England from dental sepsis. This has come from multiple sources.

This story has run prominently over the weekend, and we are now running a survey to tease out more

The weekend’s story is here:

Some are redirecting messages at their MPs with their own reflections  

FYI the paper is making 3 demands: 

1. Everyone should have access to an NHS dentist

More than 12 million people were unable to access NHS dental care last year – more than 1 in 4 adults in England. At the same time 90% of dental practices are no longer accepting new NHS adult patients.

Data from the House of Commons Library showed 40% of children didn't have their recommended annual check-up last year.

2. Restore funding for dental services and recruit more NHS dentists

The UK spends the smallest proportion of its heath budget on dental care of any European nation. Government spending on dental services in England was cut by a quarter in real terms between 2010 and 2020. The number of NHS dentists is down by more than 500 to 24,151 since the pandemic.

3. Change the contracts

A Parliamentary report by the Health Select Committee has branded the current NHS dentists' contracts as “not fit for purpose” and described the state of the service as "unacceptable in the 21st century". The system effectively sets quotas on the maximum number of NHS patients a dentist can see as it caps the number of procedures they can perform each year. Dentists also get paid the same for delivering three or 20 fillings, often leaving them out of pocket. The system should be changed so it enables dentists to treat on the basis of patient need.


If you wish to discuss further please contact Ashley



Kind regards,

Clint Foreman

(Asst. Sec. Essex LDC)

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