The long overdue workforce plan for the NHS is long on ambition and short on credibility when it comes to dentistry according to Practice Plan sales and marketing director, Nigel Jones.
As he asserts in this short video, without accurate data regarding full-time equivalents (FTE) in dentistry, any assumptions upon which the modelling for the plan is based are flawed. And, as he points out, that information for dentistry just isn’t available, leaving the plan’s viability open to question.
The workforce plan – train, retain, reform
Nigel addresses the plan’s three sections: train, retain and reform, in order. When examining the train section, he welcomes the additional training places outlined in the plan.
However, he is dubious that the numbers involved (around 300 extra student dentists, hygienists, and therapists by 2028) will be sufficient. With the current exodus of dentists from the NHS, will these measures be able to keep pace?
As he touches on the more headline-grabbing section of the plan – ‘Retain’ – Nigel would like more detail. He acknowledges that some of the drivers for dental professionals leaving the NHS are mentioned.
However, he feels more should be outlined about how these will be tackled. Something for the upcoming ‘dental plan’ perhaps?
Nigel also addressed the contentious suggestion that dental graduates might be retained within the NHS dental system for a time. He is dubious as to whether that is even achievable from either a practical or legal point of view.
Within the reform section, mention is made of regulatory reform and many within dentistry would agree it is needed and is likely to be welcomed by large sections of the profession.
However, those hoping for reform of either funding or the dental contract will find little solace within the document. Perhaps, yet again, these are things which will be detailed in the upcoming, and badly needed, dental plan.
To find out more about Practice Plan visit practiceplan.co.uk/nhs.