Undo the contract’s damage, dental leader tells government

The Department of Health must undo the damage done by the new dental contract, delegates heard last week at the annual Local Dental Committees’ conference in London.

Addressing the conference, the Chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee, Dr Lester Ellman, also called on dentists to seize the opportunities that will emerge from the chaos.

He said: ‘The Department must work with the profession, not against it.

‘Dentists need stability to grow their practices which the contract does not provide.

‘We need change – not a knee-jerk, panic-stricken, untried change but evidence-based, tried and tested change. We need evolution, not revolution.’

He also renewed the BDA’s call for dentists to be permitted to transfer their NHS contracts to new owners, thus maintaining the goodwill value of practices and allowing long-term business stability.

Dr Ellman also urged the Department to sort out poor performing primary care trusts.

He advised dentists to be alert to opportunities that could arise from the additional funds the government has invested in NHS dentistry.

‘The additional money will allow more innovative PCTs to commission services without UDA output being the sole criterion.

‘We, as the profession, need to be looking for ways to assist our PCTs to use this money wisely, to explore new contracting opportunities to advantage, for ourselves and our patients.’

Dr Ellman urged conference to accept the important role that LDCs have in engaging with PCTs and patients to develop robust local commissioning structures and in sharing good practice.

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