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BDA AGREES SEVEN POINT POLICY ON NHS AND PRIVATE DENTAL CARE

The British Dental Association has produced a seven point policy on NHS and private dentistry. The policy has been produced to address the problems of those dentists who remain fully committed to the NHS such as those in salaried services, whilst recognising the problems that exist within the General Dental Services (GDS) and the wish of many to move into the private sector.

The BDA remains committed to preventing oral diseases and promoting oral health for the whole population. We also support the principles of the NHS as a publicly funded health service, available to all. Despite this, however, the BDA has reservations about its current funding and structure.

Until working conditions in the GDS improve significantly, the BDA cannot support the NHS as the only source of funding for a dental practice. This may mean members looking for alternative sources of funding for their practices. If it is a move wholly or partly into the private sector, the BDA will continue to provide substantial support for members.

Dr John Renshaw, Chair of the Executive Board, said: "The BDA has produced its new policy to ensure that dentists, the wider healthcare sector, the media and parliamentarians are clear about where we stand on NHS and private dentistry. During the coming year we will redouble our effort to improve the terms and conditions of service for those members who continue to deliver care in the NHS so that they have the support they need and patients receive the high quality care they deserve."

 

BDA Press and Parliamentary Head seconded to major NHS body

Kate Cinamon, Head of Press and Parliamentary Affairs at the British Dental Association for the past six years, has been offered the post of Director of Communications at the National Clinical Assessment Authority (NCAA) on secondment from 1 April for six months.

Kate has been instrumental in raising the profile of the Association and dentistry in the media and in Parliament. Her proactive media stories have produced thousands of positive references to the BDA and hundreds of interviews with BDA spokespeople. As a result, the Association has had considerable success in setting the agenda on a number of dental issues in the national media and dental press. Kate's expertise has also been responsible for limiting the damage from many of the negative issues which have often been associated with dentistry.

The NCAA, which was set up following recommendations made in the Chief Medical Officer's report, Supporting Doctors, Protecting Patients, published in February 2000, is a new, national body to provide a fast response to concerns about a doctor's performance. It will begin work on 1 April.

The NCAA will provide a central point of contact for the NHS where concerns about performance arise and will give training and support to doctors where necessary. The Authority is likely to include dentists in its remit in the future, although this will not happen at once.

Commenting on her appointment, Kate Cinamon, said: "I am very much looking forward to the challenge of working for a high profile body whose role is to ensure the public have the highest possible trust in the medical profession. It will also be exciting to be involved with the Authority from its first day of operation and to play an integral role in the way it communicates to the NHS, the professions and the public."

Ian Wylie, Chief Executive of the BDA, said: "Kate's skills and expertise have been invaluable to the BDA and will be very useful in her new job. We wish her well."

British Dental Journal - latest research

Attitudes to dentistry improving 'Dental attitudes and behaviours in 1998 and implications for the future' G Bradnock, Birmingham University; D A White, Birmingham University; N Nuttall, Dundee Dental School; A J Morris, Birmingham University; E Treasure, University of Wales College of Medicine; C Pine, Dundee Dental School.

The UK's adult dental health survey has revealed that:

Attitudes towards dental health are more positive than in the past.
Basic oral health messages are now well embedded in the folklore of the UK population.
Patients with greater oral health needs and those from more deprived households are still lagging behind in terms of their oral health attitudes
Adult oral health continues to be a measure of social exclusion.
Almost two-thirds of adults in the UK, with no experience of dentures, worry that they might have to use them. Sixty-one per cent of respondents said that they were very upset at the idea of wearing dentures.

Teenagers' oral health suffers with increased dependence on soft drinks and acidic foods 'Dental erosion in a group of British 14-year-old school children - influence of dietary intake' Y Al-Dlaigan, Birmingham University; L Shaw, Birmingham University; A Smith, Birmingham University.

A study of a random sample of 418 14-year-old Birmingham school children investigated the dietary intake of acidic foods and drinks and also to determine the relationship between dental erosion and acidic dietary consumption. It has revealed the following results:

Consumption of soft drinks was high amongst those surveyed.
There was a highly significant correlation between dental erosion and the frequency of consumption of cola drinks, other carbonated drinks, apple juice, sport drinks and beer.
Children who consistently took vitamin C tablets also had significantly more erosion.
Other acidic dietary components such as pickles and ketchups as well as a vegetarian diet were also linked to dental erosion.

 

Boost for patient safety in denturism case

Public safety as well as professional dental standards received a boost this week after a landmark ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority upholding a complaint about an advert by Whitefield Dental Laboratory, in Bury, Greater Manchester, for a 'qualified clinical dental technician'. The complaint, brought forward by Manchester based dentist, Anthony Kravitz, was made on the grounds that there was no such title as a qualified clinical dental technician.

The advert therefore became a source of confusion for the public who were at risk of thinking that the advertiser could offer dental services which can only be carried out by dentists.

Only dentists are legally entitled to design and fit dentures because only they are trained to examine patients, check their overall oral health and prescribe and provide appropriate treatment. Untrained personnel might miss serious conditions such as oral cancer and suggest inappropriate treatment which does not take account of overall oral health. Unregistered personnel could also put the public at further risk because, unlike dentists - who are regulated by the General Dental Council and can be struck off the register for serious professional misconduct - they are not regulated. This also means there is no check on whether they follow infection control procedures. In addition, if anything goes wrong, patients have no redress apart from the courts.

Commenting on the ruling, Dr Kravitz said: "This is a great ruling for the public. Patients will no longer be at the mercy of misleading adverts by organisations implying that they offer clinical dental services. The British Dental Association's advice to patients on the issue is that in the interests of your health, have your mouth checked and your dentures fitted by a dentist. Members of the public who wish to have dentures fitted are advised to ask if the person they will be seeing is a dentist".