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Units of Dental Activity and Dishonesty

News | Tue 26th Sep, 2017

The General Dental Council has taken a keen interest in pursuing dental practitioners for claiming units of dental activity under private contracts with NHS England.

The currency of the NHS system is units of dental activity (UDAs) and the rate at which UDAs can be earned varies significantly between treatments. When the dental activity has been split as two courses of treatment rather than one, and dental activity has been claimed in the wrong bands (Bands 1 to 3) it can lead to allegations of dishonesty.

Other issues raised by the GDC include:

  • Making claims to the NHS against annual allocations of dental activity by way of separate courses of treatment when the treatment provided should constitute one course of treatment.
  • Prescribing treatments under private contract to NHS patients when the patient is entitled to treatment under the auspices of the NHS.

Such allegations are becoming increasingly common and have serious consequences for healthcare professionals. A dental practitioner or nurse may lose their registration if they are found to have acted dishonestly.

In the recent case of General Dental Council v SK before the Professional Conduct Committee, the dental practitioner was alleged to have acted dishonestly when claiming UDAs over a period of 18 months. Allegations included splitting courses of treatment, claiming Band 3 UDAs for treatments when a Band 1 claim was more appropriate.

These issues raise important contractual arguments and one has to have a very good understanding of how the system works in practice.

Following a lengthy hearing before the GDC and having heard evidence from experts and the registrant, the PCC dismissed the allegations.

It is important for dental practitioners to obtain the best advice on these complex issues. It can make the difference between retaining registration and being erased from the register.

Simon frequently acts for dentists before the General Dental Council, the PLDP and the FTT on performance related issues.

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