The most recent oral evidence sessions of the Health and Social Care Select Committee into dentistry left those watching with little doubt that any hoped-for improvements in the state of NHS dentistry were a long way off.
When the Chief Dental Officer, Sara Hurley, made her appearance, the consensus was it was an object lesson in self-promotion and how to sound plausible while avoiding answering a question. And when the Minister responsible for dentistry, Neil O’Brien was questioned, it became obvious that there was no prospect of any more money coming the way of NHS dentistry.
‘Nothing to see here,’ according to the Minister. Activity levels were increasing and there were more dentists. Compared with activity levels during the pandemic lockdowns, activity has increased and, if the figures relate to numbers of dentists in total, rather than full-time equivalent (FTE), that may be the case, too. However, as the BDA revealed recently, more than 500 dentists who deliver only one UDA per year are counted as dentists practising under an NHS contract. A case of lies, damned lies and statistics?
You just can’t get the staff
So, with practices struggling to recruit clinicians prepared to work under the constraints of an NHS contract, crippling clawback and even corporates throwing in the towel, is there a future for NHS dentistry? This is one of the subjects to be debated, and answered, by a panel of industry leaders at the Dental Business Theatre at the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show at the NEC on 12th and 13th May.
Once again, the Dental Business Theatre is being programmed by Practice Plan with all sessions this year addressing the theme ‘Dentistry’s Biggest Questions Answered’. The ones covering the question ‘Is there a future for NHS dentistry?’ will see BDA General Dental Practice Committee Chair, Shawn Charlwood, dentist and Head of BDA Indemnity, Len D’Cruz, Clinical Director for the British Association of Private Dentistry, Simon Thackeray, Dental Business Coach, Chris Barrow, and Practice Plan Sales and Marketing Director, Nigel Jones, giving their thoughts on this issue. It promises to be an interesting debate as, given views expressed on recent webinars, not all panel members are ready to start reciting the last rites for NHS dentistry just yet.
However, for those who conclude the end is nigh for their time as an NHS dentist, Practice Plan’s Head of Sales, Zoe Close, and Area Manager, Suki Singh, will share their expert knowledge in answer to the question: ‘How do I make a successful move from NHS to private dentistry?’
Other questions being tackled by experts in their fields are ‘How can I keep my best staff and attract new recruits?’, ‘How can my practice beat the cost-of-living crisis?’, ‘How can I keep myself mentally fit?’, and ‘How can I keep my team happy and motivated?’.
If you have questions of your own about membership plans, or you’d like to talk to us about switching your plan provider, as well as the Dental Business Theatre, Practice Plan colleagues will be available for a no-obligation chat at Stand K50, where you can also talk to one of our friends at Wesleyan about securing your financial future.
If you’re not planning a visit to the Dentistry Show you can call: 01691 684165, or visit: practiceplan.co.uk for more information.