The introduction of the new dental contract in England - A baseline qualitative assessment

K. M. Milsom, A. Threlfall, K. Pine, M. Tickle, A. S. Blinkhorn, P. Kearney-Mitchell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective To record immediately prior to its inception the views of key stakeholders about the new dental contract introduced in April 2006.Method Nineteen participants (11 dental practice principals and eight primary care trust dental leads) were interviewed using a semi structured approach to find out their views and opinions about dental practice, the reasons for introducing the new dental contract, its implementation and content of the new dental contract. An analysis based upon the constant comparative method was used to identify the common themes about these topics.Results Practice principals expressed satisfaction with working under pilot Personal Dental Services schemes but there was a concern among dental leads about a fall in dental activity among some dentists. All participants believed the new contract was introduced for political, financial and management reasons. All participants believed that it was introduced to limit and control the dental budget. Participants felt that implementation of the contract was rushed and there was insufficient negotiation. There were also concerns that the contract had not been tested. Dental practitioners were concerned about the calculation and future administration of the unit of dental activity system, the fixing of the budget and the fairness of the new dental charge scheme. Dental leads were concerned about patient access and retention and recruitment of dentists under the new contract.Conclusions The study found a number of reasons for unease about the new dental contract; it was not perceived as being necessary, it was implemented at speed with insufficient negotiation and it was seen as being untested. Numerous and varied problems were foreseen, the most important being the retention of dentists within the NHS. Participants felt the contract was introduced for financial, political and managerial reasons rather than improving patient care. The initial high uptake of the new dental contract should not be viewed as indicating a high level of approval of its content. © 2008 Nature Publishing Group.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59-62
    Number of pages3
    JournalBritish Dental Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2008


    • Attitude of Health Personnel
    • economics: Contracts
    • Cross-Sectional Studies
    • economics: Dental Care
    • Female
    • General Practice, Dental
    • Great Britain
    • Humans
    • Job Satisfaction
    • Male
    • Qualitative Research
    • State Dentistry
    • economics: State Medicine


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