• Changes afoot in the commissioning of NHS dental services

    All dental services – primary care, secondary care, salaried and out-of-hours – are to be commissioned by NHS England [previously known as the NHS Commissioning Board].
    There will be 27 area teams across the country and Devon Dental will come under the one for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
    The intention is that NHS England will commission the majority of primary care through nationally negotiated contracts and that area teams will have limited scope regarding these contracts. 
    With regard to secondary care, salaried and out-of-hours services dental care pathways are being developed to describe consistent national elements, regardless of setting. 
    The challenge for the Area Team and the Local Professional Network will be to work with all stakeholders to implement these care pathways with local flexibility,  so that decisions about services can be made as locally as possible, involving the clinical community, patients and the local population.
    The Dental Local Professional Network [LDN] will involve all stakeholders and be clinically led. It will consist of a core or governing  group and spread outwards through representative committees and groups to all clinicians and patients.
    The core group will consist of the chairperson, a dental public health specialist, the dental manager from the Area Team, patient representative[s] and local clinicians from across the clinical spectrum.
    Peter Howard-Williams, a dental practitioner from Exeter and non-executive director of Devon Dental, has been appointed as clinical chair for the LDN.
    Dental contracts manager Andrew Harris  and dental public health consultant Rob Whitton will also sit on the core group. The remainder of the group will be appointed shortly, while an advert has been circulated inviting input from clinicians and any other interested parties.
    Right now, the only thing we can be certain of is that change happens!

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