Take time to deliver, BDA tells minister

A ‘genuinely personalised’ preventive dental service depends on the time allowed for treatment, the British Dental Association (BDA) has told health minister Ann Keen.

The BDA has been highly critical of what they see as the government’s ‘target-driven’ contract brought into force in April 2006.

They told the government that a ‘realistic understanding of the time involved in providing patients with the modern dentistry they have a right to expect’ must be part of any future review of NHS dentistry.

In a letter to the minister, BDA Executive Board chair Susie Sanderson urges the Department of Health to undertake a timing exercise following the Health Committee’s highly critical report on the Government’s reorganisation of NHS dentistry.

‘This exercise must take into consideration the time required to deliver a genuinely personalised service in line with the four pillars of the Next Stage Review and the time required to undertake treatment to the quality and standard that patients have a right to expect.

‘We urge the Department of Health to commit to such an exercise. Without this information, we believe it is impossible to develop a system which will provide a stable and sustainable future for NHS dentistry.’

Dr Sanderson’s letter accompanies the publication of the BDA’s detailed response to the Health Committee report, published this July.

‘The introduction of the new arrangements for NHS dentistry has led to a time of uncertainty and confusion for dentists and patients, and it is important that the Health Committee report has made those genuine problems a matter of public record.’

The BDA response to the Health Committee report reinforces the committee’s criticism of the new target-driven contract.

In its evidence to the committee, the BDA highlighted the failure of the new contract to meet the Government’s own success criteria for the future of NHS dentistry which included enabling a more preventive approach to care, improving patient access to NHS dentistry and removing dentists from the treadmill of the former system.

The BDA’s full response to the Health Select Committee report can be accessed at www.bda.org/docs/hscresponse.pdf.

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