Chief Dental Officer for England issues a ‘Call to Action’ to the dental profession to help find workable solutions to the contractual problems that have beset the NHS general dental service since the introduction of the last set of contractual changes in 2006.
You’re a bit late getting to the party, Barry, but now you are here you will be pleased to know that your old adversaries CHALLENGE have been resurrected and are looking forward to joining a robust debate alongside you.
Barry, you will remember, but for those who are too young to recall, CHALLENGE was a political pressure group set up in the wake of the 2006 contract debacle. They argued long and strong for major changes early in the life of the new contracts. They even made a significant appearance in front of a Parliamentary Health Select Committee back in 2008. The three founder members were Eddie Crouch, John Renshaw and Ian Gordon. These are well known names with a long track record of standing up for GDPs in the one-sided battle with the Department of Health. The same three professional leaders are still the face of CHALLENGE.
The call for action from the CDO provides us dentists with quite an intriguing headline, especially coming from one of the most obdurate supporters of the status quo. Barry Cockcroft comes to the vexatious arguments over the way the NHS GDS and its various contractual formats work for patients and for dentists after telling anyone who would listen - for years on end - that the service is in great shape and patients are deliriously happy with the way they are treated.
Well, if Barry wants to hear from the profession, CHALLENGE is willing to take up the cudgels once again to promote and articulate the message we hear coming from all the GDPs we listen to on a regular basis. In the near future we will be running our own listening exercise to gather up data on how you see the contract and how you feel you have fared in the eight years since it began. We also need to know your concerns about the pilots being run at the moment and the possible shape of a new service that may emerge.
If we as a profession are to make any real impact other than making a lot of noise and blowing out a lot of hot air, we need your input to validate what we are saying. When that chance comes along please take the few moments it will require to put down, for our benefit and for the benefit of all your colleagues, exactly how you feel about the situation you find yourself in.
If Barry wants action, CHALLENGE says let’s give it to him!!
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