GDS interim funding model – SDPC position statement

04 March, 2022 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

Following recent discussion among the Scottish Dental Practice Committee (SDPC) about the latest proposals for an interim funding model for the GDS, members confirmed that SDPC does not approve or support the PCA in its current format.

Members also confirmed that the following issues required clarification / confirmation from Scottish
Government to allow the committee to further consider the proposals:

  • Explanation for the new examination fees
  • Removal of the 3-month uncertainty surrounding the 0.7 multiplier, and assurance that it
  • will be applied for at least a year, or until a new model of care is introduced
  • Address the derisory fees for extractions and denture repairs
  • Commitment to year-on-year capital investment for dental practices

Further details are provided on these and other issues below:

  • Clear methodology for how the new fees for examinations were calculated, including the
    expected time taken, or confirmation that the new funding for the examination fees is
    constrained by Government budgetary pressures.
  • Explanation is needed for how the new fees will reduce oral health inequalities.
  • Fees for non-profitable treatments – in particular extractions and denture repairs – require
    considerable increases urgently as part of the interim funding model, rather than wait for the
    full-scale reform of the entire SDR. SDPC are of the opinion that now is the time to address
    these fees in much the same way as the Scottish Government have increased the examination
    fee but with clear methodology. This will inform a new model of care.
  • SDPC remains opposed to the full reintroduction of the fee-per-item system but recognises that
    a multiplier for all fees is a positive step. However, assurance is needed that the multiplier will
    be in place until an agreed permanent replacement for the SDR is introduced. Members had
    major concerns about the planned review of the multiplier, and the possibility that it could be
    withdrawn at short notice. A 3-month timeframe with no commitment as to what support will be
    given beyond that period is highly unsatisfactory from a financial planning point of view.
  • If the multiplier is introduced on 1 April, clarity is needed about what happens to treatment
    plans started before 1 April but completed afterwards. Changing a payment system at 3-month
    intervals would create a massive administrative task for practices dealing with open cases that
    straddle these intervals.
  • SDPC maintains its view that all activity should be recorded and adequately. Assurance is
    needed that this will be considered as part of long-term contractual reform. Now is the time to
    begin recording of all activity which will inform a new model of care. The Scottish Government
    have previously given reassurances on this issue and now is the time to begin measurement.
  • Clarification is needed about what funding for “general repairs and improvements” would cover,
    as well as any limits per surgery / practice. Many practice owners have made major
    investments in their practices and SDPC had misgivings about what impact this funding would
    have. Commitment to a rolling programme of significant capital investment is required.

The SDPC met for the first time this triennium on 9 February. David McColl was re-elected as Chair, and Josephine Weir was elected Vice Chair. Jeff Ellis, Clare Murphy, Christina Ferry and Gillian Lennox were elected to the SDPC Executive Subcommittee, which is responsible for formal negotiations with the Scottish Government.

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