A kick in the teeth! Louth misses out on multi-million investment in NHS dental services

Dentist news
Dentist news

A multi-million pound investment will extend dental services for thousands of patients across Lincolnshire - but Louth will not receive a penny after the town’s bids failed to meet the NHS’s criteria.

NHS England announced the £3.39m annual investment last week, equating to almost £34m over the ten year contract period.

Lincoln, Boston, Sleaford, Spalding and Pinchbeck will benefit from brand new dental practices, or an extension of existing services.

Bids were also invited from new and existing dental practices in the Louth and Skegness/Spilsby areas - but contracts were not awarded in either of these areas.

The announcement comes just days after it was confirmed that Louth is earmarked for over 1,200 new homes in the next 15 years through ELDC’s Local Plan, with hundreds of homes having already been granted approval and awaiting construction.

An NHS England spokesman said: “Bidders were required to meet published quality and finance criteria. Bids are evaluated to determine applicants are suitable to hold an NHS contract to provide dental services that are safe, high quality, and value for money.

“Bids were reviewed against financial standing and sustainability, quality and suitability to hold an NHS contract.

“No preferred bidder was identified for the Louth lot, as bid submissions did not meet financial sustainability requirements.

The spokesman continued: “NHS England will now review these contract lots before deciding on next steps.
“We remain committed to improving access to NHS dental services in the Louth area.”

Due to commercial sensitivity, NHS England did not reveal the who the bidders were, or the detailed reasons behind their failures.

Di Pegg, Head of Primary Care for NHS England in Lincolnshire, added: “It’s disappointing that we’ve not been able to award contracts for new services in Louth or the Skegness and Spilsby area as we’d hoped, but we will be renewing our focus on improving access to NHS dental care in these areas as soon as possible.

“Overall, the fact that we are delivering a significant increase in the availability of NHS dental treatment throughout Lincolnshire will come as welcome news for thousands of local people, who from January 2019 will find it much easier to benefit from routine, urgent and out-of-hours NHS dental care closer to where they live.”

When they come into effect from January 2019, the contracts commissioned by NHS England will provide a total of 116,000 ‘Units of Dental Activity’ (UDAs) to NHS patients every year, with a routine check-up counting as one UDA, and more complex treatments counting as more.

• Does Louth urgently need more investment in dental services? Send your views via email to louthleader@jpress.co.uk