NHS Business Services Authority... What do they do?

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed my fellowship takes me all across the country for meetings and events; one of which was a trip to my old haunt Newcastle to visit the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA)...

Before this day, my perception of the BSA was mostly dealing with sending off my FP17 NHS claims...but I have since learnt about all the roles the BSA have...

Who are the NHS BSA?

The BSA are an 'Arms length body' of Department of Health (like NHS England and HEE) and have 4 divisions:
  1. Primary care (prescriptions and dental)
  2. Workforce services (pensions, ESR, HR)
  3. Citizen (help with health costs, E111, student bursaries)
  4. Enabling services (information services, digital)
In total, the BSA administer £35 billion worth of payments! We visited the Newcastle offices which is the main offices of the BSA. The main office where the dental team work from is in Eastbourne.

As well as the everyday functions of the BSA, they have ongoing projects as the Pacific project which aims to save the NHS £1 billion, mostly through supply chain efficiencies. Together with this, many of you will know over the past few years, the BSA have been exemption checking all patients who claim they are exempt from dental charges (dental exemption checks - DECs) and have recovered over £179 million. Although what I learnt from the day is that when a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is sent to patients, it doesn't actually always mean that they have claimed their exemption incorrectly; but it could be for very innocent reasons such as the address of the patient not being up to date or the incorrect exemption box has been ticked by mistake. 

The BSA also provide assurance to communicate with NHS England any abnormalities in data, such as double claiming or any outliers in performance. This takes the pressure off NHS England when contract managing dental providers.  

There are 3 stages in contract management:
  1. Validation - i.e. whether performers are compliant 
  2. Education -  i.e. improving delivery of the service
  3. Escalation -  i.e. taking appropriate action

Roles of the BSA Dental Team

The dental team within the BSA have lots of different roles:
  • Payment of dentists via FP17 submissions (which now are all online)
  • Advise dentists on claims
  • Fraud prevention
  • Clinical advisers to review claims and outliers 
  • Student finance deductions
  • Reimbursement of expenses for Dental Foundation Trainees
  • Pensions 
  • Exemption checking 
  • Run reports for NHS England, Commissioners and Public Health England. For example, for the Starting Well Project or for local needs assessments 
  • Patient questionnaires distribution and analysis - this is a text message questionnaire
  • Distribute the BNF (although now this is signposting to the online version of the BNF)
Every year, NHS dentistry in primary care cost £2.11 billion and there are 39.9 million courses of treatment. 

To find out more about the BSA, please see their website.

Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

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