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Lay of the Land: Croydon

One of the first things we get asked when we attend meetings with local stakeholders is, “how many dentists are there?”, as though this will somehow lead to a magical redistribution of resources and improvement in access. This usually leads to a more detailed explanation of how the dental contract works, that there is no registration and why patients may struggle with access and dentists with targets. 

Dental data, even basic things like the number of dentists or practices, can end up being complicated. The number of dentists varies throughout the year as people move around, and it doesn’t accurately capture locums or working patterns: one dentist does not equal one dentist providing NHS care. This difficulty was shown recently in the GDC’s workforce data capture exercise. 

Nor when it comes to practices is it easier. Different legal entities can exist in the same location, holding different contracts. The same legal entity can hold multiple contracts. So what is being counted? There is no accurate data on size of location. The practice may have few UDAs but many active surgeries or passive surgeries waiting for more UDAs to be given. A practice may have a large number of UDAs and a few surgeries working nonstop. 

That aside, what can we say about dentistry in Croydon in 2023/24?

  • There are 262 individual dentists providing some level of work under a GDS contract. 
  • There are 47 practice locations providing some level of work under a GDS contract.
  • The total GDS contract value in Croydon for 2023/24 is £20,255,810.39 with an average of £375,107.60

The figures above are interesting but without a more granular analysis and understanding of the contractual arrangements for dental services they provide only the very briefest of overviews. 

The LDC’s vision is “For local dentists to be empowered to provide the care their patients require with a supportive local network and NHS contract.” This means that we have to understand our workforce and that our stakeholders understand our workforce too. Dentists cannot be empowered to provide care if those who commission services do not understand our service or our working patterns so we will keep developing our data and knowledge to ensure that we and those we engage with have the full facts available. 

To do this successfully and consistently and to help faster achieve our vision we really do require the manpower of our LDC constituents. 

If you feel you have the desire to be involved further please do get in contact with us and we will be more than happy to provide you with the training and direction for you to be able to help shape the future of dentistry in South West London.