Dentists dispute Hancock’s claim on ‘agreement’ over targets

The British Dental Association has disputed claims by Health Secretary Matt Hancock today that agreement had been reached over a new series of targets now facing NHS dental practitioners in England.

Following negotiations, the dentists' union has refused to sign up to the deal - based on delivering 45% of pre-pandemic activity - on the basis it will be unachievable for the majority of practices that still face tight COVID restrictions that limit patient throughput.

The BDA has warned this approach will leave the future of many practices in jeopardy and will force dentists to prioritise routine cases and the 'worried well' over emergencies in order to make the target and escape steep financial penalties. It has also expressed grave concern over bringing potentially unsafe numbers of patients back into practices, when COVID rates are surging.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said:

Today the Secretary of State for Health claimed agreement has been reached over targets for NHS dentistry.

There has been no agreement nor could there be. The facts are government will be imposing targets that will threaten practices and undermine patient care.

This is not the approach we need or expect during a pandemic.