Oasis Uproar
 

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Oasis Uproar

 

Oasis Uproar

Dentists working for Oasis Healthcare are outraged by ‘draconian’ changes in their contracts, which allegedly ‘severely affect’ their private income. Speaking exclusively to Dentistry magazine, one dentist said the corporate organisation has ‘taken great advantage of the NHS situation causing an unprecedented uproar.’ The new contract contains a clause allegedly stating that associates must not discuss the contract with anyone, ‘including solicitors or the BDA.’

He said: ‘We received the new contract only last week but they insisted we sign it by 1 April, or three-month notices of termination would be issued to all associates. It is still unclear whether associates treating NHS patients after 1 April will even be paid for their UDAs unless they sign the contract.’

But Pat Langley, clinical director for Oasis denied the allegations. She said: ‘We had to sign legally binding practice based contracts with all the PCTs that became effective on 1 April. To ensure we can fulfill these contracts we had to amend our existing associate agreements. To do this we drew heavily on the template guidance from the BDA and the new NHS regulations, but the delays with the new NHS contract meant we had to send our new associate agreements to our dentists at shorter notice.

Langley continued: ‘We sent accompanying letters on 17 March to the dentists making it clear we were not happy to do this with such a tight turn around, but when it became clear the following week that some of our dentists would not be in a position to sign by 31 March, we sent a follow-up letter.

‘We said dentists would be given three months notice (in accordance with their existing contracts) to terminate existing arrangements and an offer of re-engagement under the new terms.’

Oasis dentists now have until 1 July to sign, or can sign at a mutually agreed earlier date added Langley. As for whether dentists will be paid for their UDAs unless they sign the contract – ‘they will’, she said.

Asked what changes to the Oasis contract she thinks are causing resentment, Langley pointed to the hygienist referral fee, which has been removed from the contract. But referring to the GDC guidance, Langley said: ‘A dentist should never receive payment for referrals that may affect or appear to affect their professional judgment, so any payment such as referral fees would be in breach of that.’

Some dentists are ‘extremely unhappy’ about these changes, but said Langley, ‘most of them are saying they understand the need to do it.’ She added: ‘There is unhappiness but we see it as adhering to the GDC guidance.’

On how the hygienists feel about these changes, Langley was honest: ‘Hygienists are largely supportive but nervous of those who say they will not bereferring patients - all private patients should have access to hygienists,’ she said.

The message to dentists at Oasis is clear said Langley. ‘We will be talking to any of our dentists who say that this change will affect their referral patterns.

We will also stress that hygienists are usually the best people to give oral hygiene instruction, leaving dentists to concentrate on more profitable work.

 Posted on : Mon 10th - Apr - 2006

 

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