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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.

The 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 2019

Our focus for 2019 will centre around ensuring sustainable careers for those working in NHS dentistry and beyond.

 

Falling levels of morale and motivation continue to be a real problem for dentists working in Scotland and we want to do something about that. 

 

​1.

​Fairer pay and terms and conditions

We continue to highlight the concerning trend of falling incomes and rising costs for dentists in Scotland.

We've asked for a pay uplift that starts to redress the 30% real-terms pay cut that dentists have faced over the past decade and our evidence shows a real issue in recruitment and retention of dentists and the need for an urgent solution. 

 

​2.

​Ensuring a dental workforce for the future

Our surveys of dentists continue to show a fall in morale and motivation, rising levels of stress and the need for action. We will continue to highlight the stress that dentists are under and call for solutions.

In the Public Dental Service (PDS), we are concerned about the diminishing workforce, and the impact this is having on patient care. Many are leaving/retiring, and NHS Boards are struggling to recruit and we need a workable plan of action.

​3.

​Safeguarding public health

Ensuring public health is safeguarded continues to be on our agenda

 

We want prevention, rather than cure. If dentists get the opportunity to detect oral cancers early on, then lives can be saved.  We will be following up on the actions we outlined in our Oral Cancer Action Plan. We'd like to find out how the NHS Boards are doing in this area and assess the impact on patient care and outcomes. 

4.

​Oral Health Risk Assessment

The Oral Health Risk Assessment is a major upcoming OHIP priority, it will impact on dental-recall intervals and the frequency of scale and polish treatments.

 

We plan to take a proactive approach to shape the discussions.

 

​5.

​Reducing oral health inequalities

OHIP Action 7 includes the Community Challenge Fund, we'd like to hear from the dental profession on how this might work in practice.

We'll also be highlighting the situation of vulnerable groups of patients, including the homeless, prisoners and special needs patients, calling on Scottish Government to ensure these patients access the right care at the right time.