Musical chairs at the DH…
When the NHS Commissioning Board is set up in October next year, there will be a national medical director, a national nursing director, but apparently no national dental director.
This may change, of course, with the final structure expected to be announced later in the month (September).
The NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for running the NHS both through GP consortia and also directly commissioning some services itself, including dentistry.
As such, it needs a dental presence alongside medical and nursing.
It is possible that the current NHS medical director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh CBE, will take on that role at the NHS Commissioning Board.
Likewise, the chief nursing officer, Dame Christine Beasley, could become national nursing director at the Board.
But with no national dental director there does not, at present, seem to be a role for the CDO, Barry Cockcroft, at the NHS Board.
Back at the Department of Health, public health will be organised into a new service: Public Health England.
It will co-ordinate local authorities as they assume a public health role.
It will undoubtedly have a dental presence, and this could be the deputy chief dental officer, Sue Gregory, whose specialty is dental public health.
Elsewhere in health and social care, there are 26 national clinical directors, formerly called ‘Czars’. Their role is to spearhead change, working ‘with policy and delivery teams, clinical networks and the NHS management community to achieve joined-up action’.
That could be a role for the chief dental officer, unfortunately a national dental clinical director is not on the list.
As so often in the past, it looks as if dentistry is an add-on, an afterthought.
Hopefully, in a few weeks we will see if there has been a change of mind, with a national dental director being appointed to the NHS Commissioning Board.