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Better oral health for Scotland

We continue to call on Government to make significant investments in dentistry in order to serve the oral health needs of the population and also to ensure a high performing, sustainable dental workforce.

We will continue to monitor and influence the implementation of the Scottish Government's Oral Health Improvement Plan to ensure that any proposals are workable and affordable and provide the best care for our patients.


Oral Health Improvement Plan

The Scottish Government published it's Oral Health Improvement Plan (OHIP) in January 2018 with the aim of 'providing the strategic framework for improving the oral health of the next generation'.


The OHIP includes 41 Actions, as well as a number of other proposals.


However, we believe there is not enough detail in the OHIP about timescale for implementation, intended outcomes, or the required funding for the resources required to achieve these plans.


Our surveys of BDA members show that dentists are deeply concerned about aspects of the OHIP, and the implications for the viablity of NHS dentistry.


As of July 2019, only two of the 41 actions in the OHIP have been completed, and there is still a lack of detail on the timescales for the rest.


We will continue to monitor the Scottish Government's implementation of the Oral Health Improvement Plan, and to highlight the issues and concerns of our members on the ground, to call for a properly funded dental service, ensuring access for all patients who need it. 


Our focus for 2020

Our focus for 2020 will centre around ensuring sustainable careers for those working in NHS dentistry and beyond.


Some key areas we will be working on this year include:


1. Fairer pay for dentists in Scotland

This year we will continue our work to get fairer pay for Scottish dentists.

We have contributed to the BDA's comprehensive submission to the UK Government's pay review body (DDRB) which recommends on annual pay uplifts.

Last year we called on the Scottish Government to implement the recommended pay uplifts in full to start to redress the 30% real-terms pay cut that dentists have faced over the past decade. 

We will again be asking GDPs to complete a short survey to provide evidence on their expenses. Last year we were disappointed that the Scottish Government uplift failed to take adequate account of the full cost of running a dental practice, therefore we need robust evidence to be able to inform the expenses claim.

The BDA's submission to the DDRB also highlights our concerns about falling morale and motivation, and rising levels of stress. 

Numbers of Public Dental Service dentists continue to fall, which raises concerns about the viability of the service and provision of dental care for our vulnerable groups.


2. Influencing dental policy

A major focus in 2020 will be the development of the Scottish Government's 'New Model of Care' for adult NHS dentistry. This will involve the introduction of an oral health assessment, and a review of the Statement of Dental Remuneration to better reflect modern dentistry. 

BDA Scotland has already been contributing positively to both these initiatives, and we will continue to seek assurances from the Scottish Government that any proposed changes are appropriately funded and ensure the financial viability of dental practices. 

We have already expressed concerns about a proposed recall interval of 24 months for "low-risk" patients and will continue to represent dentists' views on relevant working groups.

We plan to continue our constructive discussions with the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, and with other MSPs to ensure dentistry and oral health issues are effectively represented in the Scottish Parliament in advance of the Holyrood elections in 2021.


3. Promoting good oral health and tackling oral health inequalities

Following publication of our Oral Cancer Action Plan in 2018, we will continue to focus on the key themes of prevention, early detection and effective joined-up services.

On HPV vaccinations, we continue to push for evidence on the cost-effectiveness of a catch-up programme for boys, and we continue to collaborate with other organisations on public health issues that affect oral health, such as tobacco, alcohol and diet.

While we have welcomed overall improvements in oral heath, we will continue to call for action to increase prevention and tackle persistent inequalities


4. Reviewing the impact of national oral health programmes

Scotland's national oral health programme for older people, Caring for Smiles, was launched in 2010.

We plan to review the impact of this programme over the past 10 years, and to push for what is needed for older people's oral healthcare going forward.

We will also look at the effectiveness of the other national oral health programmes – Childsmile (for children), Mouth Matters (for prisoners) and Smile4life (for homeless people) – and to ensure that dentists are given the funding and resources to deliver on what's needed for their patients.

Add your voice

We will aim to take these priorities forward through our committees and liaison with relevant stakeholders. We will maintain a flexible approach throughout the year to allow for new developments, and keep members informed of progress through our enewsletters, blogs and other communication channels.

We welcome new members getting involved and supporting us, as we drive our agenda forward. If you are interested in getting more involved with our work, do get in touch.