Revolution in the provision of dental services in the UK
Version of Record online: 21 SEP 2012
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Special Issue: Festschrift in Honour of John Spencer
Volume 40, Issue Supplement s2, pages 110–116, October 2012
How to Cite
Tickle M. Revolution in the provision of dental services in the UK. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2012; 40 (Suppl. 2): 110–116. All rights reserved. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A⁄S
- Issue online: 21 SEP 2012
- Version of Record online: 21 SEP 2012
- dental resource allocation;
- general practice;
- health services’ needs and demand;
The National Health Service (NHS) in England provides a comprehensive dental service funded largely from taxation but supplemented by co-payments.
This paper provides a historical overview of NHS dental services and some personal reflections on the main challenges over the next five years.
A narrative review of the literature and some subjective observations and comments.
In 2006 there was a radical change to NHS dental sservices in England; central budgets were capped and general dental practitioners. Dentists who were previously paid on a fee-for-item basis moved to a new contract that required them to hit activity targets to maintain their historical income. This contract was unpopular with dentists and has been criticized for not improving access or quality. A new dental contract has been promised based on capitation. Against this background significant issues have to be addressed including: a rapidly growing gap in between demand and resources and a need to make substantial cost savings across the whole of the NHS; a significant decline in dental need; inequalities in utilisation of dental services; and provision of treatments of doubtful effectiveness.
The NHS dental healthcare system faces significant challenges and consideration needs to be given to the consequences of a focus on need rather than demand. Logically this would require a needs-based resource allocation formula and a needs-based approach to service and workforce planning. A move to a needs-led service is a political decision with associated political risks.