Contract resolution under fire

Susie Sanderson, chair of the British Dental Association’s executive board, has criticised the speed in which disputed dental contracts are being resolved.

Department of Health figures show that 262 disputed NHS dental contracts were resolved between 30 September and 30 November 2006. This compares to 523 in the previous two months.

According to the figures, 868 disputed contracts remained unresolved at 30 November. This compares to 1,130 at the end of September and 1,373 at the end of August. Originally, 2,777 contracts were signed in dispute.

Responding to the figures, Sanderson said: ‘If disputed contracts are only resolved at the rate they were between the end of September and the end of November, the new contract will be in its second year of operation before all of these problems are addressed.

‘The significant number of contracts that were signed in dispute, and that are yet to be resolved, highlights the uncertainty that continues to surround NHS dental care for patients. We know, from what dentists are telling us, that many practitioners are still experiencing serious problems with the new NHS contract. It is clear that an urgent, thorough and transparent review of the impact of the government’s reforms is required.’

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