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Dentists encouraged to have their say in open consultation

The UK government has launched an open consultation for dentists, to allow the profession to have its say on contract reform and a number of other subjects. The overall aim is to enable easier access to dentistry and improve the nation’s oral health, and the Department of Health (DoH) wants as many viewpoints as possible.

The consultation, entitled ‘improving dentistry’, was launched on June 6th and will run until July 31st. Once suggestions have been taken, the government will be piloting small-scale models of any possible new dental systems that have been thought up between 2015 and 2016.

One of the reasons for the consultation is the gradual move over the years from treating active disease to preventing it. With current models still focused on treatment, there is definitely a need for change.

Several ideas are already being tested, looking at a new clinical approach, measurement of quality, outcomes and remuneration. However, the open consultation is specifically on the subject of how dentists should be paid, and what the remuneration process should consist of.

Dental organisations have already come forward in praise of the consultation. The British Dental Association (BDA) has urged dentists to respond to the consultation and make their views known before it ends.

Dr John Milne, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said: “These are interesting and useful reports and I urge all those with a stake in the future of NHS dentistry in England to read them. Dentists will have to implement any new system that is adopted by the Department of Health.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is that dentists make their views and concerns known to the Department – it’s our best chance of making sure that the planned prototypes are as useful as possible.”

The consultation is currently available on the DoH website, and all dentists are encouraged to read through it and give their opinions in order to have their say in the shape of the profession in the future.

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