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NHS and commissioning

There are lots of regulations, processes and forms that dental practices delivering dental care under the NHS must adhere to. These vary across the UK, so here you will find specific guidance on the requirements for working and tendering for NHS dental services in the NHS for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The responsibility for commissioning local NHS dental services in England and Wales rests with commissioning authorities (local area teams in England and health boards in Wales). Commissioning authorities hold the budget and have powers to contract for the provision of dental services according to the needs of their local populations. When they wish to commission services, commissioning authorities will advertise an invitation for prospective bidders to express an interest in bidding for the available activity.


The timescales involved often last for many months and the process can be arduous. Weeks of frantic activity alternate with weeks of waiting to hear the outcome of each stage, and you have no guarantee of success. Generally, you will need to convince the commissioning team that you are capable of delivering value for money, high-quality services from within a business-focused environment.




NHS dentistry in England and Wales

GDS in England and Wales - guide to the standard contract

NHS dentistry in Northern Ireland

NHS dentistry in Scotland

NHS BSA Dental Activity Review
NHS dispute resolution – England and Wales

Commissioning and tendering

Tendering in England and Wales
Orthodontic tendering: hints and tips 

Related advice


Complaints handling

Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) - Guide to completing 

Death and serious illness

Dentists parental leave and pay
Dentists long-term sickness and pay

Fees guide - Northern Ireland

Fees guide - Scotland


UDA value checker - Analysed data from the NHS Business Services Authority to provide an estimated UDA value for all NHS contracts in England so that you can compare your practice or the practice where you work to the local and national averages.

Commissioning and tendering


NHS England guidance





Guidance for commissioners

Delivering Better Oral Health: and evidence based toolkit for prevention
Dental Assurance Framework
Guide for the commissioning of oral surgery and oral medicine
Guide for the commissioning of orthodontics
Guide for the commissioning of special care dentistry
Overarching introductory guide to the commissioning of specialist services
Securing Excellence in the Commissioning of Primary Care Dentistry Services


The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and NHS Commissioners
Substantive guidance on the Procurement, Patient Choice and Competitive Regulations

Expert templates


Accessible information policy

Business continuity and disaster recovery policy
Complaints - code of practice for patients
Complaints handling policy - comments on Scotland template
Complaints handling policy (E-W-NI) 
Complaints letters - NHS (E-W-NI)
Complaints letters - NHS Scotland
Complaints record
Complaints report (E-W)

NHS remedial and breach notice letters

Practice closure - patient notification 
Practice closure - safe storage and retrieval of records

Practice information leaflet 

Treatment plan and estimate

Commissioning and tendering

Audit - health and safety self-assessment 

Audit - healthcare waste

Audit - infection control self-assessment 

Audit - oral cancer risk factors 

Audit - patient waiting times 

Audit - record keeping 

Cashflow forecast template
Confidentiality policy

Decontaminating laboratory items 
Environmental policy statement 
Health and safety policy 
Healthcare waste disposal policy 
Infection control annual statement - England 
Infection control policy 
Manual handling assessment
New patient - practice standards and questionnaire 
New patient satisfaction questionnaire 
Pre-employment checks 
Quality assurance policy 
Recruitment policy 
Risk assessment - dental practice 
Safeguarding policy 


Training essentials – courses for the whole team
Clinical seminars – an in-depth exploration of clinical topics
iLearn webcasts – a selection of sessions filmed at the British Dental Conference and Exhibition
Conferences – information about the annual British Dental Conference and Exhibition, the Scottish Dental Conference and Exhibition, and group conferences for dentists in community and hospital dentistry
Branches and sections events listing


One-to-one advice

Extra and Expert members have access to unlimited one-to-one advice via phone or email from our experienced advisors. Contact our Practice support team on 0207 563 4574 or email:


We may record telephone conversations that are advisory in nature to offer you additional security, resolve complaints and improve our service standards. Conversations may also be monitored for staff training purposes. You will be alerted to this when you call.