NHS England and the Chief Dental Officer England have published a letter setting out key NHS contractual issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This letter dates back to 1 April 2020.
This was something that was heavily discussed between the British Dental Association (BDA) and NHS England before the letter was published. The letter confirms that an abatement will be applied to the majority of contracts from 1 April until 8 June this will be 16.75%. This means there will be a 16.75% reduction in to the total contract value of consumable and other variable costs incurred by practices. This figure was calculated from costs that would have not incurred whilst practices were closed. (for example, materials and laboratory costs). Practices that have continued to operate and provide urgent care through this period, will receive no abatement for the period of time that they were providing urgent care.
For practices that operated after 8 June there will be no abatement and 100% of the contract value will be paid. NHS England and the BDA recognise that providing care during the coronavirus pandemic will cost more to purchase PPE, hand sanitiser, and implementing social distancing measures.
The letter states that practices will need to provide at least 20% of normal volumes of patient care activity to receive their full contract value. However, it is important to note that the BDA and NHS England have agreed that the definition of patient care activity includes all clinical contact, face to face, telephone or video consultation.
However, from 20 July 2020 NHS England and the BDA expect all practices to be ready to provide face to face interventions. They do appreciate that capacity will be reduced and it might not be possible to high levels of dental activity. But they do expect it to be possible.
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