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Dental contract system reforms in England

The 2022/23 Dental contract negotiations represent the first significant change to the contract since its introduction in 2006. They follow 12 months of engagement with stakeholders and the profession, and in recent months, a set of more focused conversations with the British Dental Association after NHS England was asked by the government to lead on the next stage of dental contract system reform in March 2021. 

For national contract reform to be viable, 6 aims must be met. 

Contract changes must: 

  • be designed with the support of the profession  
  • improve oral health outcomes  
  • increase incentives to undertake preventative dentistry, prioritise evidence-based care for patients with the most needs and reduce incentives to deliver care that is of low clinical value  
  • improve patient access to NHS care, with a specific focus on addressing inequalities, particularly deprivation and ethnicity  
  • demonstrate that patients are not having to pay privately for dental care that was previously commissioned NHS dental care  
  • be affordable within NHS resources made available by the government, including taking account of dental charge income

For further information, read the ‘NHS dental contract reform and arrangements letter’ published on 29 March 2021. 

Dental contract reform (DCR) in England up to 31 March 2022 

The DCR programme worked with over 100 dental practices to test new ways of providing NHS dental services. The programme ended on 31 March 2022.