New contract to improve patient care

New contract to improve patient care

04 Feb 2011

The Department of Health has published proposals that will help to improve outcomes for dental patients. The plans mark the first step towards a significant NHS White Paper commitment to introduce a new dental contract that will improve the quality of patient care and increase access to NHS dental services. The contract will be based around capitation, registration and quality.

Basing it on capitation means that, for the first time, dental professionals will be rewarded for the quality of care they deliver to patients rather than the number of treatments carried out.

The new focus on quality – and guidelines on how to deliver it –  is intended to support dental professionals in improving the oral health of their patients, while the focus on registration will give patients the security of continuing care.

From April, three different models will be piloted around 50-60 areas across England. It is hoped the models will provide information and evidence on various aspects of the proposals, which will better inform the development of a new national contract.
Professor Jimmy Steele, a member of the National Steering Group which developed the proposals, said, “The development of a new NHS dental contract marks an enormous step forward for NHS dentistry.

“The complexities of redesigning and delivering a new dental contract should never be underestimated and we need to learn from the pilots, but there is now the real prospect for an NHS dental service which is good for patients, fair to dentists and aligned to oral health.”