More than 1,300 dentists have signed an open letter that calls for a patient-centred and prevention-focused approach to NHS dentistry.
The letter – addressed to Health Secretary Steve Barclay – urged the government to accept new recommendations for NHS dentistry.
These were set out in a report published by the the Health and Social Care Committee last week.
Recommendations from the committee included:
- Urgent changes to the dental contract
- The commission of a dental workforce survey
- Incentives to attract and retain dentists within the NHS. For example, the reintroduction of NHS commitment payments, incentive payments for audit and peer review and the introduction of late career retention payments.
The letter reads: ‘Fundamentally [NHS dentistry] requires a decisive break from a discredited contract that has been in force since 2006.
‘To put in place a model that is patient-centred and prevention-focused, that ensures the patients who need us most are no longer the least welcome.’
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‘A perfect storm’
BDA chair Eddie Crouch said: ‘Children are waiting in agony thanks to the indifference successive governments have shown to dentistry.
‘Yearlong backlogs pre-date COVID-19, because “prevention” has been little more than a buzzword.
‘It’s a perfect storm. Dentists are losing the battle to nip these problems in the bud, and struggle for theatre space when extractions are the only option.
‘Ministers have been offered a blueprint for reform. They have a moral responsibility to use it.’
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