An agreed funding uplift for general dental practice across Scotland is to be implemented following a decision not to pursue a judicial review process that would have prevented the award being made.
Following careful consideration of the potential consequences of accepting the award uplift or pursuing a legal case, the BDA’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee (SDPC) has decided not to pursue a judicial review of Scottish Government’s decision to recover alleged overpayments of patient registration fees. It was made clear to SDPC by Scottish government that if such a challenge were made, the uplift agreed by SDPC in good faith earlier this year would not be honoured. This would have led to practices across Scotland being deprived of the funding indefinitely. It would also have caused significant pension detriment in the long term. Instead now, the uplift will be implemented from 1st November 2013 and backdated to 1 April.
A challenge could also have created further financial jeopardy, because in the event of an unsuccessful review the BDA would have been liable for both the Scottish Government’s costs and its own.
The BDA’s legal challenge to the proposal had already forced the Government to re-examine and delay implementation, allowing practitioners more time to understand the potential impact on their own practices and prepare for appeals where appropriate. It has also seen the timescale for the process extended and an appeals process for those who believe they are incorrectly being subjected to it established, following representations from SDPC.
Practitioners who are contacted about alleged overpayments should contact the BDA for advice.
Dr Robert Donald, the Chair of SDPC, said:
“This has been a contentious issue which has its genesis in the forced implementation of continuous registration arrangements to which the BDA objected strongly even before they were imposed.
“Latterly, we have also opposed Government proposals to recover monies already paid to practices as a result of the flawed system it insisted on introducing. This is a deeply unsatisfactory episode for which the profession is owed an apology.
“However, we have been presented with a very stark choice that has profound repercussions for dental care across Scotland and this is not a time to allow dogma to cloud our judgement. Practices and their patients come first and we are making the choice that best serves their interests by providing a much-needed and overdue injection of funding into NHS dentistry.”