Joe Hendron calls for a better dental contract

Joe Hendron calls for a better dental contract

“Let’s us all do what it takes for a better dental contract,” were the words of Joe Hendron at the LDC conference dinner last night, when he told delegates why he handed back his prototype contract and his disillusionment with the contract reform process. The after-dinner speaker was Callum Youngson, head of Liverpool Dental School.

The slow pace of the dental contract reform process in England was firmly in sights of LDC Conference Chair, Joe Hendron, at the annual dinner last night, held in the Europa Hotael, Belfast. His practice had been involved with the pilots, then prototypes since 2013. But earlier this year he announced that they were withdrawing and reverting back to the 2006 UDA contract.

He said: “Six years ago I had a dream. A dream of what just might be possible in the brave new world of NHS dentistry under the pilots.” The reality was, as his then practice manager told him last September: “the dentists are at their wits end and nurses are threatening to leave. Long term patients are complaining every day at how long they have to wait for appointments.”

The access targets set by NHS England were, in his view, excessive and unachievable, with a financial penalty attached. But when he raised this concern at a meeting last year he was told: “This is the only show in town – take it or leave it.” 

He ended by saying “without dreams how can we move forward and improve.  We must keep pushing on that door to a better future no matter what it takes. Let’s us all do what it takes for a better dental contract which works for our patients and for our colleagues.”

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The after-dinner speaker was Callum Youngson, former head of Liverpool Dental School, who entertained the guests with a most witty speech. He had a couple of serious points to make. It was obscene to extract childrens' teeth when we had the knowledge and could find the money to prevent decay. Second the regulators were scaring younger dentists by not allowing them to learn by their mistakes.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the LDC Conference Unsung Hero Awards, this year's recipients were Dr Fiona Sutherland (Hertfordshire LDC) and Dr Martin Buckle (Devon LDC). Dr Sutherland has been secretary and deputy chair of Hertfordshire LDC since joining the LDC in 1990. Dr Buckle has also given long service to Devon LDC, chairing the LDC and importantly running the PASS scheme since it's inception in 2005.

In a raffle on the length of Joe Hendron's speech, over £2,000 was raised to be share between the BDA Benevolent Fund and the Dentists Health Support Trust.

In elections earlier in the day, Leah Farrell (Northamptonshire LDC) was chosen to be Chair Elect of the Conference, her event will be in 2020.

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