Update on quality and performance of the Practitioner Services Division in Scotland

ProgressWe conducted a survey in early 2016 asking for your feedback on the quality and performance of the services provided by the Practitioner Services Division (PSD), with the aim of collecting feedback on the service, the quality of monitoring, the effectiveness of communications from the PSD, and on how accurate the payment information received was felt to be.

We also asked for your comments seeking suggestions on how PSD could improve their services.

The information you provided has helped us provide a more evidence-based approach in our ongoing negotiations with the Scottish Government and the PSD, and to ensure the voice of BDA members and GDPs across Scotland are better represented.

We published the results of the survey in March 2016.

PSD issues: What you told us

From your feedback, we came up with five main conclusions and recommendations:

  • provide additional resources for the PSD Helpdesk
  • improve the relationship between PSD and general dental practitioners by creating less of an ‘them and us’ environment
  • improve and reduce Prior Approval waiting times
  • improve the e-Schedule format to make it more user-friendly
  • provide a less hostile approach by PSD staff, improved communication with a focus on transparency and better support


We then set up a joint working group of BDA Scotland, the Scottish Dental Practice Committee and the PSD and we have met twice to discuss the findings of our survey and taking the conclusions and recommendations forward.

During our first meeting, we agreed that the aim of our working group was to work in partnership and address these five key areas identified in our survey report, and we agreed a number of actions, in response to us highlighting these key areas:

Prior Approval – turnaround times

The PSD has a target of 20 days to turnaround Prior Approvals and it has met this target from 15 August 2016. Our working group has devised a ‘Top 10 Tips for GDPs’ when applying for Prior Approval, by highlighting key information to the applications.

Response time for the Helpdesk

The PSD has now reviewed whether calls are appropriate, and is now offering access to other helpful online sources. The working group is looking at how to implement a triage process for call handling. PSD have suggested that the Helpdesk is usually quieter during 8.30-9.30am, 1.00-2.00pm and 3.30to 4.25pm.

PSD also have asked if GDPs can ensure they have their GDP list number, patient information and acceptance or completion dates, to hand when they ring, to speed up the process.


Our survey suggested that the tone and content of communications with GDPs is sometimes felt to be hostile. Our working group is reviewing the tone of the standard letters issues by PSD and the provision of FAQs for Helpdesk staff. PSD is drafting is ‘Meet the staff’ leaflet, to help GDPs feel that their staff are more approachable.

Us and them environment

You suggested that an ‘us and them’ environment was unhelpful. We have raised this with the PSD and we are looking at how this culture and perception can be improved.


The survey highlighted a lot of dissatisfaction over the implementation of the new e-Schedules.

The working group has discussed this issues and PSD has confirmed that queries on e-Schedules are now decreased, after the initial period of problems when it was first implemented. The process will continued to be reviewed and the group is looking at home access for GDPs.

Going forward

After our initial meetings we have prioritised a list of 27 objectives and actions that are to be completed in the short, medium and longer term.

A second meeting took place in November 2016, and the group provided updates on the action plan and reviewed the objectives.

BDA Scotland agreed to keep members informed of the working group’s progress and PSD also have provided an update with their January 2017 e-Schedules.

Pat Kilpatrick, Director BDA Scotland


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