BDA challenges Hunt to invest in prevention for NHS 70th

BDA challenges Hunt to invest in prevention for NHS 70th

BDA Chair, Mick Armstrong, has challenged Jeremy Hunt to put prevention at the heart of government’s NHS ’birthday funding’ pledge, as they warn that a rush to reduce political pressure on hospital targets will fail to tackle the pressures facing the wider service.

In an open letter to the Health Secretary the BDA has demanded clarity on investment in primary care and public health services. They have sought clarity on issues around the government’s successive manifesto commitments to reform dental primary care services, its increasing over-reliance on patient charges, threats to training budgets, and its unwillingness to engage meaningfully on public health programmes.
They have stressed that a new prevention-focused NHS contract will only now be viable if ministerial contributions taken out of service since 2012 are restored, to boost quality, access and time spent with patients. Recent figures have shown spending per head has fallen £41 to £36 per person in just 5 years. Recent evaluation reports have demonstrated prototypes currently being tested are not financially sustainable.

They have also urged the government to engage with modelling from Public Health England on the huge returns of investment yielded by spending on prevention, and requested details on plans for public health budgets for cash strapped local authorities. £1 spent on early years prevention programmes of supervised brushing yield £3.06 in savings after just 5 years.

 BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: "If Ministers fail to invest in prevention in primary care and public health services they will be on the wrong side of their own strategy for the health service.  It is wrongheaded to focus on cure over prevention, treating the symptoms but not the causes of the pressure on our NHS. More and more children face 6 month waits for tooth extractions in hospital, but the solution cannot be throwing cash at the surgical workforce.”

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