Four new NHS dental practices to be provided in Lincolnshire with plans for more to follow

Teeth decay in children has become a serious issue in Peterborough
Teeth decay in children has become a serious issue in Peterborough

NHS England has confirmed it is to spend £3.39m a year to provide new dental services in Lincolnshire to address a growing need in the county.

Thousands of people across Lincolnshire will soon benefit from improved access to local NHS dental care after NHS England (Central Midlands) awarded five new contracts to dental service providers.

The new general dental service contracts have been commissioned by NHS England (Central Midlands) in response to an assessment of local dental needs in Lincolnshire. This assessment identified priority areas where improved access to NHS dental services was required, determining the locations of the general dental practices.

The seven year contracts – which include the provision of four new dental practices in Spalding, Sleaford, Boston and Lincoln, plus a replacement for the former NHS dental service at Johnson Community Hospital in Pinchbeck – represent an annual investment in local dental care of nearly £3.4 million, totalling almost £34 million over the 10-year* contract period.

Further bids to provide extended access dental services in Louth and the Skegness/Spilsby area are also being reviewed.

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.

UDAs are a measure of the work done during a dental treatment, with a routine check-up counting as one UDA and more complex treatments counting as more. Based on previous evidence, the 116,000 UDAs could be expected to equate to roughly 40,000 patients treated every year.

Three new practices providing general dental services (routine and urgent care) from 8am to 8pm, 365 days a year are to be set up in Lincoln, Sleaford and Spalding. These services will be provided by JDSP Dental Ltd.

One new extended access dental practice for routine and urgent care will be opened in Boston, to open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week (excluding bank holidays). This service will also be provided by JDSP Dental Ltd.

An extended access dental service at Johnson Community Hospital in Pinchbeck to replace the service provided there until August 2017 will be created. This service will be provided by Community Dental Services CIC and will be open 8am to 8pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8am to 6.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8.30am to 1pm on Saturdays, and 9am to 12.30pm on alternative Sundays (except Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday).

Bids were also invited to provide extended access dental services in Louth and the Skegness/Spilsby area (a total of 15,000 UDAs), but these two contracts have not been awarded because the bids received did not meet NHS England’s criteria. NHS England (Central Midlands) will now review these contract lots before deciding on the next steps.

The exact locations of the new practices within each area will be agreed between NHS England and the service providers, with further details to be announced in the coming months. The new service at Johnson Community Hospital will operate from the same location as the previous one.

Di Pegg, Head of Primary Care for NHS England in Lincolnshire, said: “Having looked at the overall picture in Lincolnshire and gained an understanding of which areas are most in need of better access to dental care, we’re delighted to confirm that a range of new NHS practices will be launching in January across the county.

“We’re also pleased to have reached an agreement for extended access NHS dental services to return to Johnson Community Hospital for the long term.

“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.”

Each contract has the option to extend for a further three years.

Sleaford’s contract will provide for 25,000 UDAs annually. Boston’s extended access will provide another 15,000 UDAs.