NHS dentistry

NHS launches ‘golden hello’ scheme to dentistry services

NHS England (NHSE) has issued new guidance to dental practices encouraging them to take advantage of the ‘golden hello’ scheme which will see approximately 240 dentists offered up to £20,000 to work in under-served areas for three years.

The recruitment initiative is part of the dental recovery plan which was jointly published by the NHS and government in February.

The plan aims to enable easier and quicker access to NHS dentistry services throughout the country, with 1.5 million extra dental treatments earmarked for delivery in the first 12 months.

The recovery plan also set out separate recruitment measures to incentivise dental practices to treat patients who had not been seen in two years, with contractors eligible for an additional payment of £15 to £20 – depending on the type of treatment.

“Thanks to our dental recovery plan to improve access to vital dental services, many practices are now taking on new patients and we will continue to work with the profession to encourage them to take advantage of our new incentive scheme,” explained NHSE’s chief dental officer, Dr Jason Wong MBE.

“We are working to ensure that one and a half million additional dental treatments will be offered to patients over the next year with payments made to dental practices for taking on new patients and incentives for dentists to work in underserved areas.”

Victoria Atkins comment

The golden hello scheme will see the total incentive fee paid across three years:

  • Year one – 50%
  • Year two – 25%
  • Tear three – 25%

Dentists will be expected to deliver a minimum number of units of dental activity (UDAs). Those from overseas will likely be expected to deliver at least 3,200 UDAs (or equivalent) in the first year but less than 5,000 – it will ultimately be based on negotiation from all relevant stakeholders.

Level two will include dentists who have less than three years of General Dental Council (GDC) registration or equivalent experience – these people will be tasked with a minimum of 5,000 UDAs annually.

Dentists with three or more years of full GDC registration or equivalent experience will be set at a minimum of 6,000 UDAs.

The initiative is part of the drive to improve NHS dentistry, which has also seen the government commit to boosting the number of dental training places by 40% by 2031/32, as part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

Health secretary, Victoria Atkins, added: “Our dental plan is already having an impact and it’s fantastic to see hundreds more practices signing up to treat new patients since we launched our new patient premium.”

Workforce was the focus of an exclusive online conference hosted by National Health Executive recently – to gain access to the full insight from leading health sector panellists, register here.

Image credit: iStock

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