Honesty crucial to reform says dental leader

Honesty about the time and funding necessary to reform NHS dentistry in England will be vital if changes are to be successful, Dr John Milne, Chair of the British Dental Association’s (BDA’s) general dental practice committee (GDPC), has warned.

In an podcast interview for the BDA’s website, Dr Milne stresses the importance of both an honest approach to pilots from dentists participating in them and from the Department of Health about the implications of their findings on access and funding.

Responding to what is learnt from the implementation of the Oral Health Assessment is particularly important, he believes.

He also calls for very careful consideration to be given to the development of patient outcome measures in the new arrangements.

He argues that, while measuring whether a patient’s oral health has improved or not is a good ambition for the profession, caution must be exercised in linking payments to factors such patients listening to advice or changing their diet that are beyond practitioners’ control.

The interview also sees Dr Milne attack the inconsistency of different primary care trusts’ approaches to funding the implementation of the HTM 01-05 decontamination guidance and warn that changes to seniority pay and pensions could impact negatively on the success of reforms by robbing the profession of its most experienced practitioners.

The podcast is the second in a series with elected BDA officers.

The first, with executive board chair Dr Susie Sanderson, was published in August.

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