On July 19, 2022, Sara Hurley and Ali Sparke released a new NHS dental and oral health update. This issue focused on the upcoming reforms as a result of the 2022/23 dental contract negotiations.
The update opened by explaining the key changes, “The changes announced today address many of the challenges voiced by frontline dental teams and will make a real difference to patients. With a shift in the emphasis of financial reward and a re-orientation of clinical activity to those patients that need it most we are focused on improving access to NHS dental care and our support for our valued dental teams.”
Abhi Pal, president of the College of General Dentistry said, “While the NHS dental contract in England needs fundamental reform, we welcome these significant improvements. In particular, the removal of unnecessary restrictions on the roles played by members of the wider dental team, the direction of more resource to the treatment of patients with greater needs, and the potential for practices to deliver additional care so that all funding allocated to dentistry is used for its intended purpose.”
British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN) president-elect Debra Worthington said, “BADN – the professional association for dental nurses in the UK - support this reform and look forward to working with the Office of the Chief Dental Officer in developing it further; in particular in promoting the effective use of dental team skill mix to ultimately improve oral health outcomes. BADN wholeheartedly support the effective utilisation of dental nurses in the clinical environment, using skills achieved by further education leading to post-registration qualifications, thereby expanding the role of the dental nurse and ultimately improving the patient experience.”
Diane Rochford, president of The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) said, “I welcome the initial phase of changes to the contract for general dental services in England. The focus on access to care for patients and the implementation of the wider dental team providing care within their full scope of practice is essential to assist in reducing oral health inequalities. BSDHT look forward to the next phase work for dental contract reform.”
Also mentioned in the update:
- New Actionable Insights tool launches to tackle healthcare inequalities: The tool acts as a partner to the Healthcare inequalities improvement dashboard. The tool will help the NHS identify healthcare inequalities and enable targeted action.
- General Dental Council Consultation: The council is inviting views and responses on their strategic plan for the next three years. The deadline for responses is September 6, 2022.