Update on NHS Dental Services
Dental services was added to the
committee’s work programme on 16 February. NHS England &
Improvement will provide an update to the Committee.
Terry Chikurunhe, Senior Commissioning Manager
for NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I)
provided a verbal update to the committee covering the following
- The change in
commissioning arrangements, moving from NHSE&I to the new
Integrated Care System (ICS).
- Key messages to
address public confusion of dental services and the difference in
patient lists when compared to GP doctors. Contractually, dentists
provided treatment and then retained responsibility for that
patient for two years afterwards, unless the patient had periodic
- The challenges for
dentists throughout the Covid pandemic, the loss of services other
than some urgent dental care.
- Dentists continued to
receive NHS funding throughout this period, providing they
maintained services at a level set nationally. NHSE&I had a
contractual monitoring role.
- Oral health promotion
and work with the new ICS for Coventry and
- There were 65 dental
practices within Warwickshire and five specialist orthodontic
practices for children. South Warwickshire Foundation Trust
provided secondary care for patients in the County, with George
Eliot Hospital providing community dental services. Specialist and
complex procedures were undertaken at the Birmingham dental
hospital and children’s hospital.
- Dental services in
Warwickshire performed well when compared to other areas of the
Midlands region. However, there were some areas of the County with
significant challenges for dental access, with Nuneaton and Rugby
referenced. There were challenges in attracting dentists and nurses
to work in rural areas. Reference to the work to promote NHS
dentist services to practitioners. There were workforce challenges
and some dentists chose to treat patients privately, even if the
same premises were used for NHS services.
- The planned strategic
review of dental services. This would be based on population growth
and tackling inequalities in current services.
- Prior to the
pandemic, 50 percent of the population accessed NHS dental
services, with the other half either using private services or not
having access to a dentist.
- The pandemic impacted
significantly on access to dentists, mainly due to infection
control. Data was provided for Warwickshire. In December 2021,
dental access was just below 44% of pre-pandemic service levels.
Now the lower threshold for services was 62% of normal service
levels, with one in 10 dental practices not achieving this level
- Oral health
improvement. Targeted work was taking place in Nuneaton, Bedworth
and Rugby to address high incidences of children with tooth decay.
A joint approach was taking place to encourage children through
programmes like ‘brushing for life’ where education and
toothbrush/paste were supplied. Reference also to training for care
home staff so they could look after their residents. A move to more
- Fluoridation of water
supplies. This was not preferred by all but was beneficial in
preventing tooth decay.
A lengthy debate followed with the following
contributions and themes:
- The Chair requested that a written
summary of the data be provided.
- Further discussion about dental
registration and the contractual obligations. After two years of
initial treatment, a dentist was not contractually obliged to keep
the patient registered. This was not widely ...
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