About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides a monthly update on the number of NHS primary dental claims and selected treatments.

Main points

  • The number of examinations paid in September 2022 was 223,055; a decrease of 7% compared to August 2022 (238,838).
  • There were 305,419 NHS primary dental claims in September 2022. This represents a decrease of 7% from 327,948 in August 2022.

Number of NHS primary dental claims, by payment month; Scotland 1,2,3

1. The March 2022 payment cycle was brought forward to 30 March; excluding claims which would have otherwise been processed. Claims submitted from 31 March are therefore included in the April 2022 payment cycle, contributing to higher activity levels that month.

2. Note that these figures include triage claims which were not available before June 2020.

3. From 1 April 2022: Dentists were allowed to de-escalate their infection prevention and control measures in line with national guidance to alleviate system pressures and allow an increase in patient throughput.

Background

Dental claims are submitted by NHS dentists for activity monitoring or to claim payment for treatments and associated fees, such as issuing a prescription or orthodontic interim payments. Each claim may cover a single appointment or multiple appointments depending on the treatment provided.

NHS primary dental services have been affected throughout the course of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Due to the disruption to service provision, a financial support package was introduced for independent General Dental Service practices and as the service recovers, this is being reviewed.

An important factor influencing monitoring of activity levels has been the introduction of triage activity codes. These new codes were introduced on 22 June 2020 for use initially in Urgent Dental Care Centres (UDCCs) but were also then used across all NHS primary dental services during remobilisation. The codes include treatments such as: telephone advice, issuing prescriptions, undefined aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) and non-AGPs. These triage codes, which previously could not be claimed, may result in additional claims since June 2020.

As the triage codes include undefined AGP and non-AGP procedures, it is not possible to identify what procedures were undertaken unless other treatments are also recorded within the claim. Therefore, figures may undercount the number of treatments.

 

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 13 December 2022.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.dental-info@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 04 November 2022
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