Commenting as the BDA submitted its responses to the department’s engagement exercise on contract reform, Dr John Milne, chair of the General Dental Practice Committee (GDPC) said: 'Although we welcome the Government’s willingness to engage on contact reform, we are still languishing under a flawed and target-driven system, where patients with the highest need are often the least welcome.
'We now have an opportunity to make a lasting investment in the future of oral health, but the Department of Health now needs to meet words with action.
'It needs to focus squarely on prevention, bring back dental reference officers, and clearly indicate how a new remuneration package will work in practice.
'The devil is always in the detail.
'If we are going to see a preventive approach to care, there must be a commitment to a move away from the flawed activity targets that have blighted the profession since its introduction under the 2006 contract.'
Contract reform engagement exercise – key points
The BDA believes:
- The Department of Health must make clear progress toward contract reform with all due speed
- The department must now focus attention on how remuneration will work in practice (ie whether the contract will be a blend of capitation and activity). The BDA advocates that as high a percentage as possible should be on capitation
- Dental reference officers (DROs) should be reintroduced to monitor clinical effectiveness
- Extra resources to be made available for the delivery of quality and outcome measures.
The BDA’s full response to the Department of Health dental contract reform consultation is available to download on the contract reform page of the BDA website.