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Dental contracts and agreements are agreed with dental contract holders by NHS England. Contracts are held by the part of NHS England (the area team) responsible for that region. Each contract has a set value and agreed level of dental activity to be delivered for that value per year. Activity is measured in metrics known as units of dental activity.
Contracts are let by tender under public procurement regulations. The current system was established in 2006. Where a contract existed prior to 2006, it was transferred into the new system and values set under a national formula used to transfer all then existing contracts from the pre-2006 system to the current system.