BDAThe BDA has started legal proceedings against NHS England for the way it has tendered over £1/2 billion of dental contracts.

The British Dental Association (BDA) claims the tendering process for orthodontic services in south England was in breach of Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition (PCCC) regulations by failing to treat providers equally.

It believes the process set up ‘potentially impossible barriers’ for smaller contractors, meaning it was heavily weighted in favour of larger dental companies.

‘A tendering process that will have a profound impact on orthodontic services across the south of England, has been designed to shut out dedicated providers and the public,’ BDA chair of General Dental Practice Committee, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said.

‘This plan will leave NHS orthodontics available at far fewer sites, meaning children and their families travelling further to access the treatment they need.

‘NHS England have singularly failed in their duty to meaningfully engage with patients and the profession, and we intend to remind them of their responsibilities.’

‘Only big beasts need apply’

The 10-year NHS orthodontic contracts available are worth £56 million per year.

The BDA believes NHS England has failed to engage with patients or provide suitable assessments on the impact these changes will make to dental services.

‘The message from NHS England to orthodontic providers couldn’t be clearer – only big beasts need apply,’ Henrik continued.

‘We will not let NHS England load the dice in favour of larger providers and jeopardise the livelihoods of hundreds of our members.’