New group to look at oral care commissioning

An Independent commission has been established to examine the commissioning of oral healthcare in England and Wales.

The group, which will be chaired by Professor Chris Drinkwater, President of the NHS Alliance, is expected to:

• develop a framework for excellence in dental commissioning

• consider the implications of the NHS Next Stage Review for dental services

• explore better integration of dentistry into primary and secondary care services.

The group is expected to concentrate on four major areas of work, including:

• innovative and flexible commissioning

• integration of primary care services

• developing oral health in SHA and PCT strategies

• incorporating patient experience, including access, into commissioning.

The group will be independent, but enjoy the secretarial and research support of the British Dental Association (BDA).

Membership of the group will include representatives of the NHS Confederation, the Local Government Association and Picker Institute Europe, as well as senior figures from across the dental community. It is expected to report in September.

Launching the group, Professor Drinkwater said: ‘The 2006 reforms of health service dentistry and the onus placed on primary care trusts to improve access to NHS care in the 2008/09 Operating Framework, alongside the challenges posed by the recommendations of the NHS Next Stage Review, mean that local commissioning is the big issue facing health service dentistry.

‘An understanding of what constitutes excellence in commissioning, what practical options are available to commissioners and what can be delivered for patients are essential. I am delighted to have been asked to chair this group.’

The Independent Commission has been established as part of a major BDA project exploring excellence in local commissioning.

The project, which is expected to publish its final report in the summer of 2010, will include an audit of commissioning currently being undertaken by primary care trusts, an analysis of commissioning models and the production of a contracting toolkit.

The latest details of the project’s progress are available at a dedicated area of the BDA’s new website at

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